National Hockey League awards Seattle expansion team for 2021
- Author: Stacy Allen Dec 05, 2018,
Dec 05, 2018, 1:08
"Seattle's one of the fastest-growing cities in the country", Commissioner Gary Bettman said recently.
The Seattle ownership group already seems to possess a top-end sense of occasion, including flying Beverley Parsons, the niece of original Seattle Metropolitans owners Frank and Lester Patrick, in for Tuesday's announcement.
"A team in Seattle evens the number of teams in our two conferences, brings our geographic footprint into greater equilibrium, and creates instant new rivalries out west, particularly between Seattle and Vancouver", Bettman said. KeyArena is scheduled to open in March 2021.
The Seattle franchise has yet to be named.
The Seattle franchise must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2021 22 season. So that will make the NHL Seattle team's division foes the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Las Vegas Golden Knights, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and the natural rival Vancouver Canucks.
The NHL Board of Governors has voted unanimously to approve expansion to Seattle.
A three-quarters vote of the current 31 owners is needed to confirm Seattle as the league's newest franchise. The group led by majority owner David Bonderman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and president and CEO Tod Leiweke had been hoping for play to begin in 2020, but uncertainty over completing arena renovations in time means Seattle will have to wait another year for the return of a major winter sports team.
The Seattle Metropolitans of the PCHA and your 1917 Stanley Cup Champions
The NHL Board of Governors is meeting to give final approval to Seattle's bid to add the league's 32nd team. The board is also expected to be briefed on collective bargaining talks and the tentative settlement of a concussion lawsuit involving retired players.
David Bonderman, the majority owner, was asked about the possibility of an National Basketball Association team eventually returning to the Pacific Northwest as well and responded: "One miracle at a time".
If Seattle is approved as expected, a realignment plan would likely move the Arizona Coyotes from the Pacific into the Central Division in the new 16-team Western Conference.
"The league's expansion decision was only made possible because Seattle will possess the three pillars essential to the success of any franchise: terrific committed ownership, a thriving market and a state-of-the-art venue", Bettman said.
Tuesday's vote ended what had become a months-long inevitability.
The cost for league entry went up 30 percent for Seattle to $650 million, as compared to the $500 million paid by the Vegas Golden Knights to enter the NHL last season.
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.