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5 Biggest Challenges For NHL Expansion In Las Vegas

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NHL Expansion: 5 Biggest Challenges For Hockey In Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sign
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This week it was reported that the NHL was looking into expansion to 34 teams, with Las Vegas being one potential destination for a new franchise. Here are five challenges that an NHL team in Las Vegas would have to face.

5. It's Not A Traditional Hockey Market

Las Vegas Skyline
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5. It's Not A Traditional Hockey Market

Las Vegas Skyline
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Plain and simple, the most obvious challenge is that Las Vegas isn't a hockey friendly city. It's not Buffalo, N.Y. or Chicago, Ill. While there will be a draw for fans to attend a professional sporting event, particularly in the beginning, support will slowly dwindle like we've seen in other non-traditional hockey cities. Even the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings' home isn't considered a hockey town. It's a tough crowd out west.

4. Sports Betting Is Legal In Las Vegas

Sports Betting Is Legal In Las Vegas
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4. Sports Betting Is Legal In Las Vegas

Sports Betting Is Legal In Las Vegas
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Las Vegas is the gambling Mecca of the United States, which presents its fair share of problems. With the distraction of gambling right at their disposal, players and coaches would have to be mindful of the temptations. More importantly sports betting being legal in Las Vegas is the biggest concern. We all know what happened to Pete Rose once he was caught betting on baseball. The NHL would be setting themselves up for potential issues.

3. There Are Better Things To Do In "Sin City"

NHL Must Compete With Vegas Entertainment
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3. There Are Better Things To Do In "Sin City"

NHL Must Compete With Vegas Entertainment
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Let's be honest; no one goes to Las Vegas with the hopes of catching a hockey game. The strip itself offers so much entertainment to both tourists and residents that it will be hard to convince them that hockey should be priority No. 1.

2. Lack of Talent

NHL Talent Is Thin
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2. Lack of Talent

NHL Talent Is Thin
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The talent in the NHL is spread pretty thin. Many experts have already argued that even 30 teams is too many for the limited amount of talent that exists. While expansion gives more players an opportunity to play at the game's highest level, it also makes the league less competitive. So while that guy who can't seem to get a call up to "the show" finally will, his team will look over-matched much of the time.

1. A Few Current Franchises Are Struggling

Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes
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1. A Few Current Franchises Are Struggling

Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes
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With teams like the Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes already struggling in their non-hockey markets, it is a tough sell to fans that expansion is benefiting the game. I would understand it more if the NHL was moving a team like Florida to a new location like they did with the Atlanta Thrashers a few years back. Expanding when there are current teams floundering and needing more support doesn't make adding a team sound appealing.