National Hockey League awards Seattle expansion team for 2021

Getty Image

Getty Image

The ownership group, led by majority stakeholder David Bonderman, Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and CEO Tod Leiweke, will pay a $650-million United States expansion fee.

Judging on early graphics created by the NHL Seattle group, it appears that the new team will use red and black as its colors. The team will look to build on the success of the Golden Knights, which became the first National Hockey League expansion team to reach the Stanley Cup Finals last season.

If Seattle is approved as expected, a realignment plan would likely move the Arizona Coyotes from the Pacific into the Central Division in the new 16-team Western Conference.

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It's more about when than if, given the success of the Vegas Golden Knights' expansion and the $650 million the new owners will pay to join.

"Today is an exciting and historic day for our league as we expand to one of North America's most innovative, handsome and fastest-growing cities", NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

NHL Seattle met the NHL's required 10,000 season ticket deposit goal in just 12 minutes and has already met its cap of 32,000 depositors for season tickets. Their city has even won a Stanley Cup, as the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to capture it in 1917.

The NHL had been at 30 teams since 2000 before deciding to expand to Las Vegas in 2016. The as-yet unnamed franchise will be the Emerald City's first major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left town in 2008.

"There's going to be a built-in rivalry (with Vancouver)", said Tod Leiweke, Seattle Hockey Partners president and CEO. "The Golden Knights will not participate in this expansion draft, meaning they won't lose a player". The Seattle Totems were a pro hockey franchise in the Western Hockey League from 1958-74, then in the Central Hockey League from 1974-1975.

The Ottawa Senators' downtown arena project is in danger of falling apart, and Arizona Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway is looking for a partner as he tries to secure a long-term home in the desert.

Western Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals (such an unprecedented accomplishment for an expansion team that my memory of how far the Knights' run went was initially incorrect because it still seems like insane talk). Perhaps most notable is that in addition to housing the NHL team, the facility will also host adult and youth hockey, training camps, tournaments, figure skating and public ice skating.

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