NHL approves Seattle expansion for '21-22 season

NHL approves Seattle expansion for '21-22 season

NHL approves Seattle expansion for '21-22 season

The ownership group is set to build a sprawling training center in the Northgate neighborhood that it hopes will become a hub for the growth of hockey in the region.

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

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.

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

Players with no-movement clauses will have to be protected in the expansion draft.

The team will join the National Hockey League from the 2021-22 season and have already sold 32,000 season-ticket deposits. Its roof was given historic landmark designation, adding a complication to the construction, but it will essentially be an entirely new building built underneath the roof.

The new team will play in the Pacific Division, the same division as their new rival, the Vancouver Canucks. This will cause a minor re-alignment for the league, with the Arizona Coyotes, who play most of their games in the Mountain Time Zone (the state of Arizona doesn't use Daylight Saving time), moving to the Central Division upon Seattle's arrival.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan took a bit of the suspense away by making the announcement to the crowd about 10 minutes before the official word came from Commissioner Gary Bettman.

LeBrun said he has the "sense" that the Coyotes have known for some time that they're the likely team to move to the Central Division when the Seattle expansion franchise begins play. It creates a nice geographic rivalry with Vancouver. The team will follow the same expansion draft rules as Vegas did in 2017, selecting a player from each club (except for Vegas) for 30 total players.

The new team's name has not yet been decided. 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.

A team in Seattle balances the Eastern and Western Conferences at 16 teams apiece, but also requires realignment to even out the Central and Pacific Divisions.

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