Seattle Officially Gets NHL Expansion Team; Here’s The Rumored Name

Kristopher Nichols
December 5, 2018

The National Hockey League Board of Governors is expected to approve expansion to Seattle, with the league's 32nd team beginning play in the 2021-22 season.

Bettman said the addition of Seattle makes his league "more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant". Their city has even won a Stanley Cup, as the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to capture it in 1917.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a watch party in Seattle: "I got a call from a mole in the room and it was a unanimous vote".

The nine-member executive committee that heard Seattle's presentation in October voted unanimously to move the matter to the full board, which is meeting in Georgia.

Seattle's ownership group had expressed a desire to enter the league in 2020, but the league had reservations about whether that might rush the $700 million renovations to downtown KeyArena, and instead pushed the entry date a year later. The NHL will also realign its two divisions in the West for the 2021-22 season: Seattle will play the Pacific, home to its closest geographic rivals like Vancouver, Calgary and San Jose, and the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division.

Western Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals (such an unprecedented accomplishment for an expansion team that my memory of how far the Knights' run went was initially incorrect because it still seems like insane talk).

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Seattle will benefit from the same expansion draft rules Vegas had.

Of course, the team has yet to decide on a name, and according co-owner Jerry Bruckheimer,"every name has a chance right now".

Leiweke got his start in hockey with the Minnesota Wild. Next steps will include moving forward on arena and practice facility plans and piecing together a hockey operations department that Tippett will likely be in charge of.

Leiweke's job will be to capitalize on a market whose demographics have changed significantly since he left the NFL's Seahawks in 2010 after being largely responsible for the team hiring coach Pete Carroll. The Seattle Totems were a pro hockey franchise in the Western Hockey League from 1958-74, then in the Central Hockey League from 1974-1975. Basketball courts and coffee shops seem to be on every corner, but ice rinks are scarce. Obviously, Seattle's a great city. The skyline is filled with construction cranes.

"There's going to be a built-in rivalry (with Vancouver)", said Tod Leiweke, Seattle Hockey Partners president and CEO. That team lasted from 1915-24.

As part of the expansion, Seattle's ownership group will be required to pay a $650-million expansion fee that will be divided equally amongst the league's 31 teams, slightly higher than what Vegas paid for its expansion fee.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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