Gary Bettman in front of an NHL logo
Photo credit: CBC

Gary Bettman takes major step towards bringing back old NHL team

Published January 31, 2024 at 2:50 PM
Heading into the All-Star Break, Gary Bettman and the NHL brass are expected to hold a press conference to address several important news items in the world of hockey, including more expansion. According to insider Kevin Weekes, the state of Georgia has proceeded with plans to construct a new arena, and it could be a sign that the return of the Thrashers could be coming soon.

It was previously rumoured that if the potential ownership group were to commit to building an arena, it would need to be contingent on bringing back an NHL tenant. Now that construction for the new arena has got the green light, it would indicate that the NHL has agreed to return to Atlanta.

Earlier this year, Elliotte Friedman reported that Gary Bettman the NHL essentially gave the Arizona Coyotes a deadline to figure out their future arena situation by this year's all star break. We're now at the break, and the Coyotes currently have no prospects or plans to secure a professional sized arena at this point. At the time, expansion talk around Salt Lake City was getting hot, but now Atlanta could prove to be another option if the NHL decides instead to relocate to Coyotes.

Given the league's recent and repeated failures to develop a team in Atlanta, it's certainly a gutsy decision to attempt a return there again, especially when there's a more guaranteed, but smaller financial market in Quebec City with the return of the Nordiques. Also, the NHL has really ramped up expansion in recent years, almost to the point where it needs to dial back. Currently, the balance of 32 teams works in both conferences - if the NHL wants to add another expansion franchise, they'll likely have to add another shortly after to compensate. Both Utah and Atlanta could be the next two expansion franchises.
January 31   |   813 answers
Gary Bettman takes major step towards bringing back old NHL team

Where should the next NHL team be?

Quebec City56269.1 %
Atlanta597.3 %
Salt Lake City10312.7 %
Houston8910.9 %
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