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NHL awards expansion franchise to Las Vegas

We’ll leave no stone unturned in our dedication, in our pursuit of hockey for Las Vegas, not just for our team, but for the community.”

The National Hockey League’s 31st franchise will play in Las Vegas beginning in 2017, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

“I love Black Knights,” Foley said. “They have a different fan base than we do. Concerns about the Canadian dollar’s fluctuation, the stress of a two-team expansion draft and the league’s desire to correct its geographical imbalance — the Eastern Conference already has 16 teams, while Las Vegas will be the 15th in the West — prompted the governors to go with Las Vegas alone.

With nearly 2.2 million people in the last census, Las Vegas is the largest population center in the U.S. Foley has already accepted more than 14,000 season ticket deposits and sold out all 44 suites in the 17,500-seat rink built by MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Los Angeles Kings.

“We want everyone to be a fan,” said Foley, who fell in love with pond hockey while growing up in Canada. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is interested in partnering with Vegas interests to build an enormous domed football stadium for his team.

Sports leagues once rejected the city outright due to concerns about corruption from Vegas’ massive sports betting economy, but the NHL and the NFL no longer share those worries, with Bettman calling his sport “less susceptible” to gambling interests due to the small volume of bets placed on hockey.

Foley hasn’t decided on a nickname or logo for his team, but an announcement could be made in the next few weeks. Vegas was an economic boomtown in the previous decade, and the NHL is betting that its slowed growth hasn’t curbed the city’s appetite for sports and spectacles.

“We think this is a tremendously exciting opportunity, not just for Las Vegas, but for the league as well,” Bettman said, calling Las Vegas “a vibrant, growing, global destination city.”

Foley’s also bid had the enormous advantage of an NHL-ready arena built with private funding and eager for a flagship tenant. Foley is joined by minority partners Joe and Gavin Maloof, the former owners of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

“I think the NFL would be great here,” Foley said. “We’re dedicated to it. Foley announced plans to devote considerable resources to building community interest in youth hockey, including a two-rink team training complex that will be “open to all.”

Bettman said the league made the move largely due to the persistence and strength of the ownership group led by Foley, a financial services tycoon, who has been working on the idea for three years. I don’t think it will affect us.”

On a 109-degree day in the Mojave Desert’s gambling mecca, the NHL’s Board of Governors awarded the team to billionaire businessman Bill Foley, who is¬†expected to pay $500 million to the NHL’s other owners as an expansion fee. Las Vegas will have four nearby rivals — at least by West Coast standards: the league’s three California teams and the Arizona Coyotes.

Bettman also announced that an expansion bid from Quebec City was “deferred” indefinitely, allowing Las Vegas to enter the league alone in the Pacific Division. “There is no doubt as to the suitability of the Videotron Centre as a home for a team, and there is no doubt regarding the ownership credentials or the eagerness to own a team of Quebecor, which has been an outstanding partner. The new team will play in T-Mobile Arena, the $375 million building that opened just off the Las Vegas Strip in April.

“There is no doubt as to the passion for hockey in Quebec City,” Bettman said. He has strongly considered the Black Knights, a name that has special meaning to Foley, a West Point graduate.

Bettman strongly praised the bid backed by telecommunications giant Quebecor to return the league to Quebec City, the former home of the Quebec Nordiques. These components, the ones within the control of the Quebec City applicant, are first-rate.”

Foley realizes his team might not be alone in Vegas for long.

“We won’t sell out every game with season-ticket holders, but I believe it’s going to be 85 percent, 90 percent (filled by season ticket holders),” Foley said.

Although ice doesn’t last long in the desert, Las Vegas has had an appetite for hockey since the Kings and New York Rangers played a memorable outdoor exhibition game here in 1991. We’re going to work through the league.”

The NHL is expanding for the first time since 2000, when Minnesota and Columbus each paid $80 million to join the league.

Along with a top-six pick in next year’s draft, the Vegas franchise will be stocked by a June 2017 expansion draft that will be more favorable than previous drafts, theoretically allowing Foley’s team to become competitive more quickly. “I’m an Army guy, but maybe that’s not the right name for the team at this time. without a team in the major professional sports. The IHL’s Las Vegas Thunder sometimes drew more fans than UNLV’s beloved basketball team at the Thomas and Mack Arena in the 1990s, and the Minnesota Wild’s Jason Zucker leads a handful of locals who went on to hockey careers.

The endurance of that appetite will depend on Foley’s ability to keep fans excited about the newest show in town, but the NHL seems confident it’s getting in early to a growing market. The league’s alignment and playoff format won’t change.

NBA Referee Accused Of Betting On Games

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

“You have a lot of acquaintances and very few friends. Before becoming a referee, Donaghy played varsity basketball at Villanova University.

Over the years it has been a mortal fear of all leagues that the guardians of their game would be somehow touched by scandal, reports CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian.

Benson said he didn’t work with Donaghy much.

According to a law enforcement official, authorities are examining whether the referee made calls to affect the point spread in games on which he or associates had wagered.

“If these allegations are true, it just cuts to the heart of the integrity of the sport,” says basketball analyst Len Elmore.

. “Those are people that you work with and that you literally — you spend more time with those people than you do with your family.”

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Donaghy officiated 68 games in the 2005-06 season and 63 games in 2006-07. I probably worked a handful of games with him overall, just a handful.”

The investigation first was reported Friday by the New York Post.

The referee had a gambling problem, according to the official, and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance.

“I’m shocked, terribly shocked,” said Gary Benson, an NBA official for 17 years who retired two years ago because of knee problems. Other arrests are expected, the official said.

¬© 2007 CBS Interactive Inc. … This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The FBI is investigating allegations that veteran NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on basketball games over the past two seasons, including ones in which he officiated.

Defense attorney John Lauro confirmed Donaghy is under investigation but refused to comment on the allegations or the case.

Although asked by the government not to comment, Stern said the naming of Donaghy prompted a fuller statement.

“We would like to assure our fans that no amount of effort, time or personnel is being spared to assist in this investigation, to bring to justice an individual who has betrayed the most sacred trust in professional sports, and to take the necessary steps to protect against this ever happening again.”

The law enforcement official, who spoke to the AP on Friday on condition of anonymity, said the referee was aware of the investigation and had made arrangements to surrender as early as next week to face charges. He also worked 20 playoff games, including five last season.

In all, Donaghy has officiated 704 regular season games and 15 playoff games, CBS News reports. He has seven years of CBA officiating experience including the 1993 CBA All-Star Game and five years of high school officiating experience in Pennsylvania. The official, who did not identify the referee, is familiar with the investigation but was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.

The law enforcement official said the bets involved thousands of dollars and were made on games during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.

“As we previously stated, we have been cooperating with the FBI in their investigation of allegations that a single NBA referee bet on NBA games that he officiated,” commissioner David Stern said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The FBI probe, which began recently, also involves allegations that the referee had connections to organized crime associates. All Rights Reserved

20 Best Basketball Blogs for the NBA Fanatic

Major website resources in blog form.

Off the Dribble: The national newspaper of record delivers NBA news and updates. Its NBA section includes articles from famous blogger Bethlehem Shoals.

Free Darko: Shoals made his name as the main contributor for Free Darko, which has earned a cult following since its creation in 2005. Written material found on the blog comes from new editor Trey Kerby, who previously edited Yahoo Sports’ Ball Don’t Lie.

Basketbawful: It’s the best and the worst of the NBA with a little bit of humor. We’ll finally find out how LeBron’s talents will be utilized in South Beach, and if the latest incarnation of the Big Three will live up to the billing. Skeets offer analysis and satire from a fan’s perspective on The Basketball Jones daily podcasts. There are numerous blogs that will keep you up-to-date on everything you need to know — here are the 20 best.. He utilizes those abundant NBA.com resources, as a nice supply of highlight footage is often included with his posts.

InsideHoops: InsideHoops is devoted to college and NBA basketball. We’ll see if Kobe can claim his second three-peat as he attempts to match the feats of his idol Jordan. Here are just a few offbeat contributions from the self-named “Idiot That Runs This Place:” 30 Teams, 30 Haikus, No Point; The Lyric Project, which compiles any NBA-related hip hop lyric; and the NBA Nickname Project, which catalogs the nicknames of past and current NBA players.

Hoops Addict: Hoop Addict’s audio interviews are what sets it apart from other NBA blogs. His musings on all-things NBA are both informational and entertaining.

NBA Fanhouse: Fanhouse won Editor & Publisher’s 2008 EPpy Award for “Best Sports Blog” and it has continued to grow into one of the internet’s top sites for sports news, information and analysis. Perfect for wannabe general managers.

HoopsVibe: HoopsVibe examines “NBA life on the court and beyond.” Here you’ll find out everything from how much money Jordan blew in Vegas to which trade the Nuggets turned down for Carmelo.

Hang Time Blog: Sekou Smith has covered the league for more than a decade and now makes his home on NBA.com. Howard Beck, Jonathan Abrams and staff have each spent years covering The Association.

Basketball Reference Blog: The site that brings fans every conceivable NBA statistic and record also has a blog that includes analysis, projections, rankings, general “statgeekery” and answers to questions posed by readers.

The Painted Area: Basketball Reference readers who want even more statistical analysis should peruse The Painted Area. Also included are posts on upcoming prospects, international basketball and basketball book reviews.

Hardwood Paroxysm: As a member of the TrueHoop network, Hardwood Paroxysm is recognized as a highly credible blog that’s authored by highly credible writers Matt Moore, Rob Mahoney, Zach Harper, Graydon Gordian, Jared Wade and Noam Schiller.

Ball Don’t Lie: Ball Don’t Lie is updated multiple times per day by former Sports Illustrated writer Kelly Dwyer. A lot will be happening in 2010-11, so you can’t afford to sit back and rely on stale NBA information from just a couple of major websites and cable channels. Currently, the blog has an entire section devoted to Iverson in Turkey.

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The most anticipated NBA season in recent memory is finally underway. Here, there’s no prescription needed for your daily dosage of basketball knowledge.

ProBasketballTalk: NBCSports.com’s basketball minds gather on ProBasketballTalk to discuss the most recent news and rumors. Basketbawful’s staying power and large following are a result of the witty commentary of Matt McHale — contributor to Deadspin and Bulls blogger — and friends.

Hardcourt Mayhem: Hardcourt Mayhem has been recognized by ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated, reaffirming that the blog’s talented group of writers produce quality content for NBA readers.

BallinEurope: BallinEurope was founded with the mission to “provide a very unique perspective of Basketball in and about Europe.” American and European basketball are inseparably tied due to the amount of European players in the NBA, and ex-and future NBA players in European leagues. Few NBA blogs offer such comprehensive insight. We’ll know if the trade speculation surrounding Paul and Carmelo has merit. We’ll discover if the Bulls and Knicks really have improved, and if they’re both ready to make significant leaps in the standings. We’ll observe Durant as he continues to blossom into a once-in-a-generation player. Recently, author Ryan McNeill has coaxed a new freestyle from Shaq and sat down with Philly’s Doug Collins and Evan Turner.

The Basketball Jones: Tas Melas and J.E.

TrueHoop: Some of ESPN’s best NBA writers contribute to TrueHoop, which features commentary, analysis and tidbits of news relating to each team. Its NBA blog features news from team front offices while its rumor page speculates about potential news from team front offices.

The Hoop Doctors: Power rankings, live video chats with NBA stars, podcasts about the latest happenings from around the league and much more can be found on The Hoop Doctors. Founder Henry Abbott is a well-respected journalist who has received praise for his investigations into the infamous William Wesley — also known as “World Wide Wes.”

HoopsHype: HoopsHype provides season previews for each team, interviews, rumors, transaction updates, team payroll information and even a compilation of Twitter accounts from NBA media members. Truly a one-of-a-kind blog, it features pop culture references, social commentary and Shoals’ intellectually-rich take on all-things pertaining to the NBA.

Both Teams Played Hard: Both Teams Played Hard is equally as entertaining as a Rasheed Wallace pout session