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Ramblings: Expansion preparations continue in Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Arena is schedule to be completed in spring 2016. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The great thing about the expansion debate is that it is a story with so many subplots. How will an expansion draft work? Where would an expansion team or teams draft in the order? If there are two teams, are they staggered in their appearance?

And for the two prospective ownership groups, the planning never really stops, even though they are in some ways operating in a vacuum.

That’s why it was interesting to hear from Bill Foley, the man behind the Las Vegas bid, describe the search for potential locations for his team's practice facility. While the team would play out of the new Las Vegas Arena, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2016, Foley understands the need for a state-of-the-art practice facility for his squad, one that would also serve what he hopes will be a burgeoning youth and adult hockey community.

"We have four locations we are currently exploring for a practice facility, which would include two sheets of ice, fitness and medical for the team, locker rooms etc.," the financier and wine mogul said in a recent series of emails.

"We are also planning public locker rooms for league and youth hockey. The team offices for the coaches, etc., would also be there, video, etc."

The facility would range between 100,000 and 135,000 square feet, with 600 to 700 seats on one sheet for spectators, and a smaller set of stands on the second, which is similar in structure to practice facilities dedicated to other NHL teams, including the Pittsburgh Penguins' stellar new facility in Cranberry, Pennsylvania.

In terms of locations, Foley said they are looking at property in Henderson and three in the Summerlin area. Public financing might be involved with one or more of the sites, but the loan would be repaid with private funds, Foley added.

"So, no burden on the community," he said.

Foley isn’t assuming he's getting a team, but he’s also cognizant that if he is awarded a franchise, the clock will tick quickly on many fronts, and having a place for the team to call home away from the Las Vegas Arena is a key piece of the expansion puzzle. It’s also an important part of the grass-roots blueprint that will be so vital to the team’s long-term success.

"Nothing would start until a team is awarded, but we want to be ready," he said.

As for support for a team, there are about 13,500 season-ticket commitments, and just one bunker suite left unsold.

Now it’s just a question of whether the league decides it wants to move there.