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NHL Las Vegas expansion all but confirmed

T-Mobile Arena Prepares To Open In Las Vegas Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It sounds like another Sun Belt team will join the NHL for the 2017-18 season. An Associated Press source said Las Vegas will get the first expansion team since 2000, provided the ownership group can come up with a $500 million expansion fee.

Minnesota and Columbus joined the league 16 years ago at a comparatively reasonable price of $80 million each, but wealthy owner BIll Foley isn’t likely to back down because of a high price tag.

A second source told the AP that this is a “done deal,” which doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It seemed momentum for this expansion has only grown since its announcement, and while Gary Bettman didn't say anything conclusive before the Stanley Cup Final, he certainly did nothing to dampen expectations.

The earliest the team can join is the 2017-18 season, though it’s possible the move will be pushed back a year. The team already has a building ready to go as the T-Mobile Arena opened on the south side of the Las Vegas Strip earlier this year.

The NHL is expected to make an announcement following its Board of Governors meeting on June 22.