NHL's only expansion bids come from Las Vegas, Quebec City

The sweepstakes for an NHL expansion team is now down to just two cities: Las Vegas and Quebec City.

Following Monday's deadline, the NHL announced that of 16 applications sent out to interested parties, only two groups submitted official applications.

Those two applications came from billionaire businessman Bill Foley, who aims to bring a team to Las Vegas, and Quebecor, the Montreal-based media company, on behalf of Quebec City.

"The deadline for filing an application and proceeding in the NHL expansion process was last night. We can confirm that we have received two applications: one from Bill Foley for a franchise in Las Vegas, Nevada, and one from Quebecor for a franchise in Quebec City, Quebec," the league announced in a statement Tuesday morning.

As such, the league will now concentrate solely on those two groups moving forward.

"We now intend to focus exclusively on the two expansion applications that have been submitted in accordance with the previously announced process. The process we have outlined for qualified applicants includes at least two more stages of documentation submission. We will provide no further updates until there is something substantive to announce," the league said in Tuesday's release.

Though submissions were expected on behalf of Seattle and Toronto, those applications were never filed.

Ray Bartoszek's group, which was attempting to build a privately funded arena in Tukwila, Washington, declined comment, though a source told ESPN.com that they remain in communication with the league on the matter.

A spokesperson for Graeme Roustan's GTA Sports and Entertainment Group, which wanted to secure a second team in Toronto, confirmed to ESPN.com Monday that no application had been submitted.

"While we continue to focus on developing the GTA Centre, we were not able to complete the necessary work by the application deadline. We hope that another such opportunity presents itself in the future," the spokesperson said.

Though there seemed to be significant interest in expansion after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman got the green light and announced that the league would formally begin the process at the Board of Governors meeting last month, the league's guidelines may have been prohibitive for some.

The fee to make an application was $10 million, $2 million of which was nonrefundable, and the expansion fee once a team is awarded is expected to be north of $500 million.

"Our purpose, in initiating the expansion process in the manner we did, was not only to explore the possibility of admitting new members to the NHL but also, at the outset, to set realistic guideposts to distinguish between bona fide expressions of interest (i.e., those which have at least substantial ownership capabilities and an arena or the realistic possibility of an arena) from those indications of potential interest which were, at best, merely hopes or aspirations," the release stated. "Apparently, only Mr. Foley and Quebecor have the confidence in their ability to secure an arena and suitable ownership capability to move forward with this process."

Beyond Monday's initial deadline, there will be two subsequent phases of document submission, designed for the league to further discern each group's financial status and the economic viability of each locale.