Seattle will be the NHL's newest expansion franchise

Seattle will be the NHL's newest expansion franchise

The NHL officially is headed to Seattle.

The NHL Board of Governors has voted unanimously to approve expansion to Seattle.

The Seattle franchise will enter the league for the 2021-22 season as a member of the Pacific Division.

Sometimes the best things are worth waiting for. 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. He said simply that expansion is appropriate when it adds value to the league.

The Seattle Metropolitans? So, we'd have the Seattle Metropolitans and the New York Metropolitans?

For perspective, it took Vegas two days to hit 5,000 and 18 months to get to 16,000. "We needed to make the team more competitive".

It remains to be seen how the extra time will affect the construction of the hockey operations department. The rules for the latest expansion draft, including how many players teams will be allowed to protect, will be announced at a later date.

"The chess match begins", said Leiweke.

Seattle's hockey history includes the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association winning the 1917 Stanley Cup. In March, the Seattle ownership group launched a season-ticket drive and said it reached 25,000 deposits within the first hour. It's telling that shovels will be put in the ground on the site of KeyArena during a momentous ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday morning. "And we're here to win". The Penguins have four players with NMCs under contract in 2021 - Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang.

In the eyes of the National Hockey League, this decision was a no-brainer.

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

As a senior adviser for the NHL Seattle group, and one of its most recognizable faces, Dave Tippett gets the same two questions nearly every time he talks to a hockey fan. Seattle will be placed in the same division with Vancouver, the closest team by geography, so that means Arizona will be moved out of the Pacific and into Central starting with the 2021 season.

The league likes that it will provide a natural geographical rival for Vancouver while filling a need in a city under-served for professional sports.

Maybe the biggest question surrounding the team at the moment is what they'll be called.

From afar, this has long felt more like "when" than "if".

The Seattle franchise will pay a $650-million expansion fee.

"Sixteen years ago they started saying that the arena didn't work", said Leiweke.

Of course, everyone wants to know what the team's name will be.

A lot about Seattle is different from 2008, when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. "We have the right building plan, we have the support from the city, the fans are there".

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