NHL Goes West, Bringing an Expansion Hockey Franchise to Seattle

Sherman Parsons
December 7, 2018

The NHL's 32nd team was unanimously approved in a vote and will begin play in 2021-22 in a renovated Key Arena.

"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", NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

The NHL Board of Governors signed off and commissioner Gary Bettman announced after the vote that the league's 32nd franchise will enter the league in 2021-22 as a member of the Pacific Division. Adding Seattle triggers division realignment that bumps the Arizona Coyotes to the Central Division.

J.F. Berube is selected by the Vegas Golden Knights during the 2017 NHL Awards and Expansion Draft at T-Mobile Arena on June 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Strong ownership led by billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a downtown arena in a sports-crazed city and a season-ticket drive that drummed up 10,000 orders in 12 minutes all cleared the way for the National Hockey League to add another team less than three years after approving a franchise in Las Vegas. Daly said recently that there's no magic number, even though no major North American sports league has ever grown beyond 32 teams.

The addition of Seattle will give the Western Conference a 16th team to mirror the East. The Thunderbirds ranked ninth in WHL attendance last season, averaging 4,950 fans a game.

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But those hoping for a revival of pro basketball in Seattle might want to cool their jets, even amid the National Hockey League news.

"It's great", Grant said. But today I think about the fans. "Seattle is one of my favorite cities and it's a pleasure to be here". I think that's one thing that people don't always focus on-they hear big prices for expansion teams, but it's like selling equity. "It's an exciting time for the league".

How many times will the Flyers play Seattle? Seattle will have the same expansion draft rules as the Golden Knights, and one extra year to scout and prepare for that draft, which Tippett says they plan to take full advantage of.

Any player who is injured and has missed more than 60 consecutive games prior to the draft can not be used to satisfy the exposure requirement in points 4-6. The Penguins have four players with NMCs under contract in 2021 - Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang. That desire only grew after the ownership group secured the rights to build a new downtown arena past year and then sold deposits for 32,000 season tickets in a single day last March.

Good luck getting any info from the ownership group about a potential name. Quebec City was receiving a tousle of the hair and a pat on the cheek: the bid was fine, with the spiffy arena and a deep-pocketed prospective owner in Quebecor, but the Canadian dollar was weak and the city itself was over there in the East, which would have exacerbated the league's conference imbalance.

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