NHL adds Seattle as league's 32nd team, play begins in 2021

07 December, 2018, 10:18 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • Jerry Bruckheimer left and David Bonderman center and Tod Leiweke announce their NHL Seattle ownership group in April

The league's Board of Governors on Tuesday unanimously approved adding Seattle for the 2021-22 season.

Helin notes that the only way a Seattle franchise could play in the National Basketball Association right now is if a current team is sold and relocated, earmarking the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans as teams to watch out for.

During the summer of 2021, the Seattle franchise will hold an Expansion Draft that will follow the exact same rules as Vegas did in 2017.

"We have momentum, and this is a business of recruitment", Leiweke said. Majority owner David Bonderman said the immediate focus is on getting arena renovations and three-rink practice facility construction completed.

One of the most exuberant fans there was Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, a big sports fan.

"Everything we thought and expected (about Hayton) has come true", Arizona general manager John Chayka said, according to theScore's John Matisz. Today is a great day for the fans and we owe them so much. Leiweke expects the 17,000-seat downtown arena to open in March or April 2021 and host the expansion draft.

The NHL's launch in Seattle will show how starved fans are for another team.

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Seattle's ownership group led by billionaire David Bonderman and a number of minority partners, including Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer, will pay an expansion fee of US$650 million. Basketball is embedded in the DNA of the region thanks to 41 years of the SuperSonics and a lengthy history of producing NBA talent. Basketball courts and coffee shops seem to be on every corner, but ice rinks are scarce.

The yet-to-be-named team will play in the Seattle Center Arena, and the ownership company isn't wasting time on a facelift for their home rink-$800 million in renovations, which were pending National Hockey League approval, is set to begin on Wednesday. The Coyotes are staying in the desert, but they're moving out of the Western Conference's Pacific Division as part of the NHL's upcoming realignment that will coincide with the welcoming of the new Seattle franchise to the league. The NBA's owners are not even considering it.

A lot about Seattle is different from 2008, when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. "As we went through application process and got more and more information and did our due diligence process on the Seattle market, it certainly became even more attractive".

"Sports rivalries are terrific for tourism because fans are passionate, they want to see the team play", said Ty Speer, President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver.

And unlike Quebec City, its location in the northwest of the United States allows the NHL to add balance to a league that is Eastern Conference heavy, while also providing a natural rival for the Vancouver Canucks.

"I was always optimistic but I didn't think it was ever a guarantee".


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