I once read a book that said, "thou shalt not covet," and I'm mostly in compliance. Do I covet my neighbor's wife? No. His servants? Nada. His oxen or donkeys? Absolutely not.
Do I covet my neighbors' NHL expansion application? Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
My hockey neighbors in Quebec and Las Vegas are nearing the end of the application process, with both cities set to make formal presentations today. First, they will answer some questions from the expansion committee. Then, they will make a formal report to the Board of Governors, which isn't expected to make a decision until December or so.
A Sports Illustrated article lays out the obstacles for each team.
Las Vegas has been shunned by major league sports in the past because of the pervasive presence of gambling in the city and concerns about the local economy, a transient population and an extremely competitive market for the entertainment dollar. The lack of an established hockey culture in the area also has to be addressed.
The successful season ticket drive that took place in Vegas earlier in the year should go a long way toward answering the "transient population" argument.
Quebec City faces entirely different issues. Filling seats won't be a problem. The Canadian dollar is the big obstacle. The Loonie is on a downward trajectory against the American dollar of late and the financial impact both long term and short could be staggering. For starters, that $500 million (U.S.) expansion fee balloons to more than $671 million Canadian at today's exchange rate. And if a team eventually is placed in the city, there's a chance that the exchange rate could have a crippling effect on its ability to pay salaries, which are due to players in American funds.
To my eyes, Quebec's obstacles are more difficult to overcome. That Loonie issue isn't going away any time soon. Nonetheless, I would be surprised if the Nordiques don't make a comeback through this process, and stunned if Las Vegas isn't approved.
Do I really covet their opportunity to present today? Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been seven paragraphs since my last confession.