NHL Greenlights Seattle Expansion Franchise

Heather Diaz
December 5, 2018

The NHL Board of Governors officially voted on Tuesday to expand to Seattle.

On Tuesday, the NHL announced that Seattle would be the site of the league's 32nd franchise, with the newly renovated Seattle Center Arena playing host to the franchise beginning with the 2021-22 season. The franchise will pay a $650 million expansion fee, up from when Vegas paid $500 million to enter the league. The Vegas Golden Knights recently received approval to install wagering kiosks inside T-Mobile Arena, which is half owned by MGM Resorts.

Seattle will begin play in the 2021-22 season, instead of 2020 as originally planned, to ensure arena renovations are completed in time. The league now has 30 teams and, if expansion does take place, adding two teams (rather than one) would make sense on the surface. There was a frisson of excitement in the summer of 2015 when the National Hockey League announced that it would allow interested parties to submit expansion proposals, but a year later Bettman said that it was granting a team to just one of the applicants - Las Vegas. "But this is a few bits of change which aren't around anymore".

Seattle has always been a hotbed of ice hockey, but the city has never had a team in the NHL. "It nests very nicely with the teams that are already in the Pacific Northwest".

The NHL Seattle group had hoped Key Arena would be ready for the 2020-21 season, but the NHL expressed concerns about that. "It's now up to us to deliver the championship team these fans deserve".

The yet-to-be-named Seattle club will play in the Western Conference's Pacific Division. "I just think we're going to get visitors coming up here and from 2021 we'll see an incremental lift in tourism for sure". "This has been a real journey that's had challenges".

"It's a great day for the city of Seattle", Tippett said. I worked on the Space Needle in 1962.

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"The plan is to have a team in place for 2020", Bettman said in October, after the board's executive committee voted 9-0 to move forward with Seattle. At the time, Bettman said Quebec's bid was not rejected, merely "deferred". "Now the real work starts". "We want to launch this right".

If we are to believe what we see on TV, then Seattlites are sleepless (probably due to that Venti Pike Place), eat tossed salad and scrambled eggs, get surgery done by a doctor by the name of McDreamy and often smell like teen spirit.

Clearly, the focus will be on Seattle, which has been waiting patiently for the chance to celebrate the return of a major professional winter sport since the Sonics bolted for Oklahoma City in 2008.

Also on a learning curve was Oak View Group's CEO, Tim Leiweke, Tod's brother.

So with that said, here are some options that are getting a lot of attention on social media, good and bad. But today I think about the fans.

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