Sport

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

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

The NHL Board of Governors voted unanimously in favour of awarding Seattle the league's 32nd franchise on Tuesday.

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

Seattle is expected to join the league for the 2021-2022 season.

In this April 11, 2018, file photo, part-owners Jerry Bruckheimer, left, and David Bonderman pose with Tod Leiweke and a hockey stick during a news conference naming Leiweke as the president and CEO for a prospective NHL expansion team in Seattle.

The Emerald City has checked every box the National Hockey League could ever want since their city council approved a new $700 million arena project previous year.

The ownership group, led by majority stakeholder David Bonderman, Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and CEO Tod Leiweke, will pay a $650-million USA expansion fee. That exceeds the goal of 10,000 deposits - which was reached in the first 12 minutes.

That's a sign revenues are continuing to rise after the success of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. If a team elects to make a restricted free agent goalie available to meet this requirement, that goalie must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the team's protected list. KeyArena will be gutted, essentially resulting in a brand new stadium at Seattle Center, in the shadows of the Space Needle. The franchise will be in the Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes moving to the Central Division.

An expansion draft will take place in June 2021, Bettman said, under the same rules that favoured the Vegas Golden Knights' entry into the league.

Seattle's original professional hockey team, the Seattle Metropolitans of the old Pacific Coast Hockey Association (no, *not* the NHL) was the first US -based team to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917.

The NHL had been at 30 teams since 2000 before deciding to expand to Las Vegas in 2016.



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