NHL approves expansion to Seattle as league's 32nd franchise

Ruben Holloway
December 5, 2018

The Seattle team will play in the Pacific Division, and the Coyotes will move to the Central Division.

After the National Hockey League said it would consider the potential ownership group's expansion application at this time past year, a season-ticket drive to gauge interest resulted in a jaw-dropping 32,000 deposits, including 10,000 purchased in the first 12 minutes.

An ownership group that includes TPG Capital CEO David Bonderman and movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer will pay a $650 million expansion fee to join the NHL, the league said.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says it was an easy decision to approve Seattle expansion for 2021, not 2020, because of concerns about when downtown arena renovations will be done. The board is also expected to be briefed on collective bargaining talks and the tentative settlement of a concussion lawsuit involving retired players. 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. In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup (back then, the victor of the PCHA played the victor of the NHL for the cup).

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The Seattle franchise has yet to be named.

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. In fact, our scheduling will ensure, like we do with Tampa Bay in the Atlantic, that it's a little more efficient, and all things being concluded, the Coyotes draw better against Central Division teams than they do against Pacific Division teams. The team will follow the same expansion draft rules as Vegas did in 2017, selecting a player from each club (except for Vegas) for 30 total players.

Good luck getting any info from the ownership group about a potential name.

The Arizona Coyotes are set to move into the Central Division once the new Seattle franchise begins to play from the 2021/22 season - giving the team just over two more seasons in the Pacific.

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Renovations to KeyArena, which will become the team's home, are scheduled for completion in the fall of 2020.

"And what's the name of the team?"

"The Totems", Oshie said in September. My youth coach went on to create a junior team there called the Totems. So a team for them that's close, I think it's great for the area.

A world-class practice facility is in the works. But the process can officially start now after Tuesday's announcement and Tippett is excited to get the ball rolling.

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