NHL set to vote on Seattle expansion for 2021-22 season

07 December, 2018, 10:17 | Author: Alyssa Little
  • NHL votes to give expansion franchise to Seattle

Not only is Seattle one of North America's fastest growing cities, with tech giant Amazon having recently opened its head offices in the downtown core, it's an area that is starving for a professional winter sports team after losing the NBA's SuperSonics 10 years ago.

Seattle will be in the Pacific, joining the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights.

One of the most exuberant fans there was Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, a big sports fan. "There's a group of owners involved".

Representatives of Seattle Hockey Partners, including majority owner David Bonderman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and president and CEO Tod Leiweke are at the seaside Georgia resort of Sea Island. So we're going to make the best use of this time. Some GMs have said privately they would be more inclined this time to lose one desirable player rather than give up multiple assets to save one.

The NHL Seattle group will pay the NHL a $650 million expansion fee. "But this is a few bits of change which aren't around anymore".

"I love Seattle", Bonderman said. "If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it". They will join the Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes moving the the Central Division.

Arizona's arrival could help the 'Hawks as there aren't too many bottom feeder teams like Arizona in the central (only the St. Louis Blues have less points), however the Coyotes aren't to be overlooked as they have some young pieces with potential. Groundbreaking on a total overhaul of KeyArena is Wednesday, and Seattle's front office will spend the rest of this season plotting the course for an organization that has a tough act to follow after the Vegas Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.

The new team gives the National Hockey League an even 16 franchises in the Eastern and Western conferences and will provide the Vancouver Canucks a natural geographic rival for the first time.

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Leiweke got his start in hockey with the Minnesota Wild.

There are also plans to build a $70-million practice facility.

Seattle already has a handful of pro teams, including the NFL's Seahawks, MLB's Mariners and MLS's Sounders.

Every team MUST expose two forwards who are under contract for the 2021-22 season and played in at least 40 National Hockey League games the prior year or 70 National Hockey League games in the two prior years.

Already more than 30,000 people have made season ticket deposits.

"Today is a dream come true, really for an entire city", Leiweke said.

The 2021-22 season. Seattle would have loved to have its team take the ice for the 2020-21 season, but arena renovations may not be done in time and no one wants to risk it. More than 100 years later, they'll have that chance again.

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