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LAS VEGAS (AP) NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman shares the sports world’s amazement at the Vegas Golden Knights‘ ability to reach the Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence.But if the league adds another team in Seattle in the near future http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-james-neal-jersey , Bettman expects it to have every opportunity to accomplish the same feat under the same favorable expansion terms given to Vegas.The commissioner also acknowledged that the Emerald City could secure that expansion team within the year.The Golden Knights are hosting the Washington Capitals after winning the Western Conference in an inaugural season that ”quite simply astonished the sporting world,” Bettman said in his usual state-of-the-league remarks before the Final opened on Monday night.Sour grapes were understandable among the fans of other NHL teams after Vegas’ incredible ascent to the top of a league with 12 other teams that have never won the Stanley Cup and seven more that haven’t won it in the last 20 years.The Golden Knights cleverly built this winner with an undeniably generous expansion draft that allowed them to select the likes of franchise goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and many other proven NHL players. Yet Bettman said he has received ”no pushback whatsoever” about the favorable expansion draft from the league’s other 30 owners”I think people (around hockey) are excited,” Bettman said. ”I think it’s gotten their attention.”Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly both confirmed the NHL plans to keep the same rules on the next expansion draft. If it happens within the next two years, as increasingly expected, Vegas won’t have to lose any of its players, Daly added.The vote on adding a Seattle franchise won’t happen in June when the board of governors meets during the league’s annual awards show in Las Vegas, Bettman said. But the board will get an update on Seattle’s plans, and a formal vote could happen later this year, perhaps at meetings in September or December.”There is a lot of due diligence that has to be done, a lot of interaction with the prospective ownership group,” Bettman said of the group headed by billionaire investment banker David Bonderman. ”We think we’re on target, and depending on how everything goes Jonathan Marchessault Jersey , it wouldn’t surprise me that there is a possibility that in the fall, early winter at the latest, that this could be addressed by the board. But we’re not there yet, and there is still work to be done.”Seattle hopes to be ready to become the NHL’s 32nd franchise in 2020, pending a $600 million renovation of Key Arena. But after the energizing effect of the Golden Knights on this hockey season, the league’s appetite for expansion – and the likely $650 million fee that will be split among the league’s other owners – has been whetted.The NHL also has talked about adding a franchise in Houston, the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. or Canada without a team. Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has showed interest in joining the league, but a bid likely is years away.”I don’t think at this point in time there’s interest in filing for an expansion franchise,” Daly said. ”I think they’re relatively new NBA owners. They’re getting their feet under them in terms of operating that franchise, knowing that that means. At some point in time, we’ll have a discussion with them about whether there’s an NHL team to pursue.”—More Stanley Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/StanleyCupFinals LAS VEGAS (AP) Aaron and Rhonda Hawley never truly embraced how much the Vegas Golden Knights meant to them until late in the season.On March 29, their 17-year-old daughter Brooke and two classmates were killed in a traffic accident in Huntington Beach Womens Bobby Orr Jersey , California. Since then, the Golden Knights have helped the Hawleys during their grieving process.And even with the team trailing the Washington Capitals 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final, they and thousands of others haven’t lost hope and are sticking by their first-year team until the last horn sounds. Aaron Hawley said that’s how his little girl would want it.”Her being a soccer player, she would kick a girl in the shin with one second left in the championship game if that’s what it took,” Hawley said Wednesday. ”Brooke was a fighter, and that’s what this team is about, it never gives up to the very last second.”On Wednesday, for the team’s first practice in Las Vegas since being pushed to the brink of elimination, fans decked out in team jerseys and hats and knights helmets and kids with hockey sticks or pucks in their hands packed the Knights’ practice facility before they even took the ice. And 45 minutes before the scheduled practice, with nothing in front of them but a fresh sheet of ice, the fans broke into a chant of ”Go Knights Go!” Game 5 is Thursday night.”We have a chance to play in front of our fans like we have all year long, use that energy to show them that we are also proud to be here and do something great for the city Marc-Andre Fleury Jersey ,” said Knights center Pierre Edouard-Bellemare. ”The city has our backs. I’m not worried about that situation whatsoever. It’s us to the city, we want to win for them. Once again, it’s one game. That’s all we have to think right now.”Fan Jerrald Larkin, whose own daughter, Allyssa, played soccer with Brooke Hawley, said he started watching hockey in 1989 and was originally a Los Angeles Kings fan. ”But when VGK became a reality it was all in for them,” he said. ”VGK has been such a great team and this year has been nothing short of amazing. Right from the beginning this year has been filled with many emotions and some ups and downs. There is no way we can count our team out and we are VGK proud with any outcome.”Larkin said he and his wife, Theresa, and their four daughters have been able to grow closer to many other fans because of hockey. While Theresa’s family is from Chicago and has been following sports their whole lives, Jerrald is from Vegas and never had a home team to cheer for other than the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball team.Hawley’s dedication to the team led him and his wife to follow the Golden Knights to Washington, where they watched Game 3 at a restaurant and attended Game 4 at Capital One Arena.”As a native Las Vegan Nate Schmidt Jersey , I’m thrilled to see Golden Knights hockey get as much attention as the 1990 UNLV basketball team got,” Hawley said. ”I consider that a huge accomplishment. I’m worried next year what’s going to happen, because what fans don’t realize is what this eight-month team has accomplished, is something the Capitals have been waiting on for 44 years.”But it’s the handful of games he attended with Brooke by his side that will forever be imprinted in his mind.”With soccer practice, and a young girl’s social calendar, she made as many games as she could,” Hawley said, fighting back tears. ”How wonderful it was to sit with her, cheering on our hometown team. She really enjoyed it. We actually got her extra tickets for one game to bring her friend A.J., who also died in the accident. Those are times I will cherish and thank the team for an unbelievable inaugural season. The memories.”—More Stanley Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/StanleyCupFinals
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