EXCLUSIVE: Local developer behind The Gathering says he met with NHL commissioner

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — In a Channel 2 Action News exclusive, Vernon Krause, the businessman behind the proposal to build a new arena in Forsyth County, said he met with the National Hockey League commissioner.

Channel 2 sports director Zach Klein first told you last year about Krause’s plan to build The Gathering at South Forsyth. The mixed-used development would include hotels, shops, restaurants and an 18,000-seat arena as its crown jewel with the NHL in mind.

On Thursday, Krause revealed to Klein that he and his wife recently visited New York and met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly about the project and if expansion is possible.

“You know, the encouraging thing is that when we started this deal, we felt like that we were gonna only be able to build an arena and hope that we get the attention in the NHL. And we have the attention of the NHL. Georgia has the attention of the NHL,” Krause said.

“They like our project. But as you know, as you watch interviews, they haven’t made a decision to expand. But if you listen to them, they have told everybody that if they do make that decision, that they’re very interested in Atlanta,” he added.


In January, Forsyth County commissioners approved a memorandum that requires developers of a new arena to land a professional hockey team before the county contributes any money for the project.

The vote essentially allows Krause to continue working with the county on project, and to continue efforts to lure a hockey team.

“Well, you know, our team is in daily conversations with them. Our goal is to get to a memorandum, a binding memorandum of understanding that will be voted on the 26th of this month. Prior to that, we’ve got meetings scheduled with neighborhood meetings,” Krause said.

“I’ll be coming to Atlanta and in a week from Monday to attend these meetings and answer questions that the people may have and really just building support, which I believe that we have very strong support by the majority of the citizens of Forsyth County,” he added.

Krause told Klein that he believes the group is at a good place and once they get a vote from the Forsyth County commissioners, they can turn their architects and engineers loose.

“I mean, they’ve been doing some work. And with the goal of getting a shovel in the ground in about 15 months or so.”

Krause said the official position of the NHL is the league has not discussed expansion yet, but he believes the talks could come in the future.

If it does and Atlanta is granted a team, when does Krause see a puck actually dropping at the Gathering?

“We will be dropping a puck for the ‘27-28 season provided the NHL votes to expand and picks Atlanta.”

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