Seattle Is Awarded an N.H.L. Expansion Team

The Nationwide Hockey League’s board of governors has unanimously accepted a brand new franchise in Seattle, placing the league’s 32nd workforce in one of many nation’s wealthiest and fastest-growing cities.

The still-unnamed workforce in Seattle arrives lower than three years after the league awarded a brand new workforce to Las Vegas, whose inaugural 2017-18 season was a smashing success.

The Seattle franchise is anticipated to start enjoying within the 2021-2022 season. The league will obtain an enlargement price of $650 million, which can be cut up among the many different 31 groups.

Commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned after the vote that the brand new franchise had the “three pillars” for achievement within the league: “Terrific and dedicated possession, a thriving market and a state-of-the-art venue.”

The workforce hoped to start out play one season earlier, however Bettman mentioned “the shortage of certainty of the development timeline led us to consider that making 2020-21 can be speculative at greatest.”

Seattle provides one other workforce to the Western Convention, which can now have the identical variety of golf equipment — 16 — because the Japanese Convention. Seattle’s workforce additionally may have an prompt rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks, who play about three hours by automotive to the north. To make room for Seattle, the Arizona Coyotes will transfer from the Pacific Division to the Central Division.

Traders in Seattle had sought a brand new N.B.A. workforce to exchange the Supersonics, who moved to Oklahoma Metropolis after the 2008 season. Plans to construct a brand new area in Seattle fell aside repeatedly. As a substitute, the town landed a hockey workforce partially as a result of its Metropolis Council in September accepted a $700 million plan to refurbish KeyArena, simply north of downtown.

Tod Leiweke, the workforce’s president, mentioned the workforce would break floor on Wednesday.

“It will likely be one of many most interesting arenas on the planet,” he mentioned.

Enthusiasm is operating excessive. Properly earlier than the league made clear it will put a workforce in Seattle, greater than 33,000 followers positioned deposits for season tickets, main the possession group to create a ready listing.

That group is led by David Bonderman, a billionaire funding banker; Jerry Bruckheimer, the Hollywood producer; and Tim Leiweke, a longtime sports activities govt. They mentioned in February that they hoped to carry an N.B.A. franchise again to Seattle, as properly.

The hassle to get an N.H.L. workforce has gone on a number of years, although the league insisted Seattle wouldn’t be thought of till it had a viable area.

The N.H.L. is drawn to Seattle’s rising stature. The area is house to company giants like Amazon and Microsoft, and the Pacific Northwest is a comparatively untapped space for the N.H.L.

In a quirk of historical past, the primary American workforce to win the Stanley Cup got here from Seattle.

The Seattle Metropolitans, based by Frank and Lester Patrick, performed within the Pacific Coast Hockey Affiliation. On the time, the winner of the P.C.H.A. performed the winner of the Nationwide Hockey Affiliation, the precursor to the N.H.L., for the Stanley Cup. In 1917, the Metropolitans beat the Montreal Canadiens in a best-of-five collection.

The Metropolitans once more performed for the Cup in 1919 and 1920 earlier than folding in 1924.

Since then, Seattle has had a number of minor league hockey groups, together with the Thunderbirds of Western Hockey League, who play in Kent, Wash.

Seattle was awarded an N.H.L. franchise in 1974, however the supply was rescinded as a result of the possession group bumped into monetary troubles. One other bid fell by way of in 1990.

Now that the N.H.L. has awarded Seattle a workforce, the possession group should begin work on the redevelopment of the world, open a apply facility and rent front-office workers and a coach. A workforce nickname have to be chosen, and tickets offered.

“We’re going to take our time,” Tod Leiweke mentioned. “We’re going to take heed to our followers and do it proper.”

The league will maintain an enlargement draft in June 2021, and the foundations would be the similar as these for the draft for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Beneficiant guidelines enabled the Knights to amass top-level expertise, which propelled them to the Stanley Cup finals of their first season.

Bettman mentioned Tuesday that “we’re not trying proper now or within the foreseeable future at any additional enlargement.” That might hold Quebec Metropolis, which has been angling for a workforce, out of the league, no less than for now.

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