NHL Officially Awards Seattle Its Expansion Franchise, To Begin Play in 2021-22 Season

By Rob Mixer on December 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm
The NHL is coming to Seattle, after the Board of Governors approved the league's 32nd franchise on Tuesday afternoon.

NHL Seattle

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It was only a matter of time.

The National Hockey League's Board of Governors formally approved expansion to Seattle on Tuesday afternoon in what was an unanimous vote. During the annual BOG meeting in Sea Island, Ga., the Seattle group – led by principal investor David Bonderman – heard the good news that their franchise is set to begin play in 2021-22.

Seattle will join the Pacific Division and the Arizona Coyotes are slated to shift over to the Central Division. Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL team will play its home games at Seattle Center Arena, which is currently undergoing extensive renovations.

Seattle's group will pay a $650 million (USD) expansion fee to be distributed equally among the league's clubs not named Vegas. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has previously said that Seattle will have the same expansion draft rules as Vegas did in 2017. You'll recall the numerous side deals that were cut with the Golden Knights, which resulted in the Blue Jackets losing William Karlsson...and you know the rest.

"Today is an exciting and historic day for our League as we expand to one of North America's most innovative, beautiful and fastest-growing cities," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "We are delighted to add David Bonderman, Tod Leiweke and the entire NHL Seattle group to the National Hockey League family. And we are thrilled that Seattle, a city with a proud hockey history that includes being the home for the first American team ever to win the Stanley Cup, is finally joining the NHL."

The Seattle group says it has 32,000 depositors for season tickets and sold out its required 10,000 deposits (as required for an NHL expansion application) in only 12 minutes. 

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