Seattle is getting an National Hockey League team

Lynette Rowe
December 4, 2018

In March, the Seattle ownership group launched a season-ticket drive and said it reached 25,000 deposits within the first hour. However, Seattle won't begin play until the 2021-22 season, so things could change a lot by then.

The Emerald City has checked every box the National Hockey League could ever want since their city council approved a new $700 million arena project previous year.

"Seattle's one of the fastest-growing cities in the country", Commissioner Gary Bettman said recently.

The decision was widely expected after the Seattle Hockey Partners group impressed the board's executive committee in October with a plan that had all the ingredients the NHL was looking for.

The Central now features the 2018 President's Trophy-winning Nashville Predators; the Colorado Avalanche, which features the so-called "best line in hockey" with Gabe Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, who have combined for 118 points this year; and the Winnipeg Jets, who went to the Western Conference Finals in 2018 and lost to the Vegas Golden Knights; along with the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

The owners will pay a $650 million expansion fee, up from the $500 million the Vegas Golden Knights paid to join the league.

The remarkable debut by Vegas in 2017, which included a run to the Stanley Cup Final, gave the league more confidence about moving forward so quickly.

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A team in Seattle balances the Eastern and Western Conferences at 16 teams apiece, but also requires realignment to even out the Central and Pacific Divisions.

An expansion draft will take place in June 2021, Bettman said, under the same rules that favoured the Vegas Golden Knights' entry into the league.

"Today is a historic moment in Seattle sports history", said Leiweke, CEO of NHL Seattle.

Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini has been in full support of a new team in Seattle from the get go.

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

In this April 11, 2018, file photo, part-owners Jerry Bruckheimer, left, and David Bonderman pose with Tod Leiweke and a hockey stick during a news conference naming Leiweke as the president and CEO for a prospective NHL expansion team in Seattle. Nevertheless, the idea of Pacific Northwest hockey rivalry between Seattle and Vancouver is pretty cool.

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.

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