NHL notebook: Bill Foley coy about exact number of Vegas ticket deposits
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman looks on as Fidelity National Financial Inc. Chairman and President of Hockey Vision Las Vegas Bill Foley speaks during a news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino announcing the launch of a season ticket drive to try to gauge if there is enough interest in Las Vegas to support an NHL team on February 10, 2015. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP)
Although confident he will land the first professional sports franchise in Nevada, prospective NHL owner Bill Foley remains coy about how many season-ticket deposits his group has sold to date.
Foley, a Florida businessman who is teaming up with the Maloof brothers in trying to land an expansion franchise in time for the 2016-17 NHL season, is trying to sign up 10,000 fans to prove to the league that Las Vegas is serious about hockey.
A season-ticket drive that began Feb. 9 reached 9,000 deposits on March 15.
"I can neither confirm nor deny how close we are," Foley told FOX 5 in Las Vegas.
For Foley, it's not a matter of if, but when.
"We'll have a major announcement when we finally get to that point," Foley said. "We want to make sure we do everything conforming with the way the league wants us to do it, so I'm deferring to the league at this point."
A privately financed arena is expected to open by late April 2016. It is currently being built on the strip by MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group and will seat 17,500 for hockey.
The wheels are already in motion around the planning for the potential 31st NHL franchise.
"I already have a guy lined up who's going to be doing all our financial analysis, cap and so on, and he's very experienced," said Foley. "And I've got a couple hockey guys that probably won't be the general manager or assistant GM or the coach, but they'll be intimately involved with guiding me and helping me."
Foley recently bought a home in suburban Summerlin and is planning to open several restaurants in the area.
NICHUSHKIN HAS FINAL SAY
Valeri Nichushkin will have the final say on when he returns to the Dallas Stars lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff is leaving that decision up to the 20-year-old Russian forward, who underwent hip surgery in November and was at the Stars optional skate Friday.
"It's his timetable now, when he feels good enough," Ruff told the Stars website. "We thought we had him close a few days ago, but with the harder practices he was starting to feel sore. Kind of backed off a little bit. He's skating really well. It's just when it reaches that point when that point when he feels he is going to be good enough to play."
Nichushkin has only suite up for four games this season and has yet to hit the scoreboard.
ISLES' LEDDY RETURNS
The New York Islanders received some good news heading into their game against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Defenceman Nick Leddy returned to the lineup after sitting out four games due to an upper-body injury.
Leddy was injured March 9 following a collision with Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly.
In his first season with the Isles, Leddy has 10 goals and 29 points in 68 games.
FLYERS' SCHENN DAY-TO-DAY
Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Luke Schenn did not play against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturdey due to a lower-body injury, the team announced following their morning skate.
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Schenn is listed as day-to-day.
The 25-year-old Schenn has played in 58 games this season for the Flyers, recording three goals and 14 points.