Las Vegas awarded NHL franchise, team will begin play in 2017

Posted at 2:49 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 16:49:31-04

(CNN) — Las Vegas will get its first major professional sports league team in 2017 with an NHL expansion franchise, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Wednesday.

With the addition of the Las Vegas franchise, the National Hockey League will have 31 teams.

According to, the new team will be the eighth team in the Pacific Division and the 15th in the Western Conference. There are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference.

The team will play home games in the T-Mobile arena, located just west of the Las Vegas Strip. The arena has a capacity of 17,368 for hockey games. Season ticket details are available here. 

The addition of a Las Vegas team necessitates an expansion draft. The Las Vegas team will select one player from each of the 30 existing teams. However, each team has two options for setting up protection for certain players:

a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

* All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

* All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

More details on the expansion draft and the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery is available from