NHL Greenlights Seattle Expansion Franchise

Florence Fletcher
December 5, 2018

Before considering expansion, the board opens its annual two-day December meeting Monday with updates on the state of the league's business and hockey operations.

"Today is an exciting and historic day for our league as we expand to one of North America's most innovative, handsome and fastest-growing cities", Bettman said in a press release.

The NHL's newest franchise will join Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners and the WNBA's Seattle Storm in the city.

Of course, the team has yet to decide on a name, and according co-owner Jerry Bruckheimer,"every name has a chance right now".

KeyArena, which was home to the NBA's SuperSonics before they moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, is primed to undergo a massive $800-million renovation. I know Vancouver's particularly excited about the possibility. An expansion franchise was granted by the National Hockey League in 1974, but the ownership group failed to secure payment of the expansion fee by 1976.

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Seattle Hockey Partners will pay NHL owners $650 million to join. "We're so close to each other, I just think it's ready-made for us to have a great rivalry and have a lot of people come up from Seattle to cheer on their team against the Canucks".

Whatever role Tippett takes, the Seattle team has a long way to go before taking the ice in 2021.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was a big supporter of getting pro hockey back to Seattle, which was home to the 1917 Stanley Cup champions. "If we can do it in 2020 (we will), but the other thing is you don't want to start it being a month on the road or something, either". The Seattle team will play in the Pacific Division, and the Coyotes will move to the Central Division.

Bettman said Arizona typically draws better against Central teams. That will trigger a realignment that will send the Arizona Coyotes to the Central Division. The rules will likely be similar to the 2017 expansion draft for the incoming Vegas Golden Knights, which allowed teams to either protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender or, one goaltender and eight skaters regardless of position. However, Vegas will be exempt from the Expansion Draft and will not be required to surrender a player from their roster. That team lasted from 1915-24. In 1917, the franchise become the first USA -based team to win the Stanley Cup after defeating the Montreal Canadiens for the title.

"Today is a historic moment in Seattle sports history", said Leiweke, CEO of NHL Seattle. The ownership group is set to build a sprawling training center in the Northgate neighborhood that it hopes will become a hub for the growth of hockey in the region.

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