Quebec City advances to 3rd stage of NHL expansion process

BY foxsports • August 21, 2015

The Nordiques have advanced to the third and what's expected to be final stage in their bid to return to Quebec City as an NHL expansion franchise.

Montreal-based communications giant Quebecor, which is submitting the expansion bid, announced the development on its Twitter account on Friday, concluding its message by saying: ''The goal: Bring (hashtag)Nordiques back to Quebec City.''

Quebec's capital was previously home to the Nordiques, before they relocated to Colorado in 1995.

What's unclear is if Las Vegas - the second of two expansion-franchise hopefuls - is also moving forward.

Messages left with the Bill Foley-led group ''Vegas Wants Hockey,'' were not returned. Foley is a billionaire businessman who had secured more than 13,200 season ticket deposits since February, when he began exploring the community's level of interest for professional hockey.

A person familiar with the process told The Associated Press that the third stage involves the NHL reviewing the group's business plan and revenue projections. If approved, the league would be in a position to award an expansion franchise as early as next month, the person added.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the NHL has not provided details of the process.

The NHL isn't expected to expand until 2017-18 at the earliest.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has proposed an expansion fee of $500 million. That's a significant jump from the $80 million fee paid by the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild, when the NHL last expanded to 30 teams in 2000.

The third phase comes after the NHL examined each market and both groups' arena plans

In Quebec City, the publicly funded, 18,259-seat Videotron Centre is set to open next month. In Las Vegas, a multipurpose arena under construction near the Las Vegas Strip is set to open next spring.

The first phase came last month, when Las Vegas and Quebec City were the only expansion applicants out of 16 to have their bids accepted by the NHL.

As part of their applications, the two groups submitted a $10 million down payment, $2 million of which was nonrefundable.

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