Poker icon and noted hockey fan Daniel Negreanu is confident the NHL will be the first major sports league to gamble on a team in Las Vegas.
Negreanu met with a new ownership group in Las Vegas this weekend and Tweeted, “This is happening friends!” after the meeting.
The mainstream sports media has immediately latched onto Negreanu as the celebrity face of the potential expansion with some comparing the situation to the relationship rapper Drake shares with the NBA’s Raptors.
Negreanu has numerous connections to the hockey world and the Maple Leafs' Phil Kessel actually came down to Vegas to watch Negreanu finish second in the Big One for One Drop for $8.2 million at the 2014 WSOP.
Negreanu: Hockey Would Be a Good Fit in Vegas
For years Las Vegas has lacked a major pro team because of fears of corruption but Negreanu doesn’t think it’s a risk anymore thanks to the proliferation of gambling around the globe and the close eye that would be on a Vegas-based team.
Hockey may seem like an odd fit in the desert but Negreanu pointed to success stories San Jose and Anaheim.
Of course there would be some massive perks for the potential expansion including corporate support from the casinos and millions of visiting tourists.
Negreanu is in the midst of promoting a ticket drive in Las Vegas that the league is holding to gauge local interest in a team.
Interestingly an NHL team in Vegas might also give a boost to poker with one of the game's biggest advocates getting even more mainstream attention.