Seattle Becomes Home to NHL’s 32nd Team
By Aster Cheng 12/06/2018
The NHL is expanding to the Pacific northwest of the United States. The National Hockey League announced that its 32nd franchise has been awarded to Seattle, where it will join the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders as the major league teams in the Emerald City.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had many positive remarks about the addition of Seattle to the league, saying the city’s loyalty to its already existing sporting franchises will be a benefit for the NHL.
“Expanding to Seattle makes the National Hockey League more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant,” Bettman said. “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.”
The yet-to-be-named team is expected to debut in 2021, allowing the Seattle Hockey Partners enough time to complete arena renovations in the city’s downtown area. Owners David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Tod Leiweke will have to fund the construction of a practice arena and pay the league’s increased $650 million expansion fee, with an additional $800 million for arena renovations.
Seattle will be playing in the Pacific Division with other west-coast teams, while the Arizona Coyotes move to the Central Division for the 2021-22 NHL season. The team is expected to be built around the same Expansion Draft rules as the Las Vegas Golden Knights in 2017.