Seattle is about to become home to the NHL’s 32nd franchise!
The official announcement was made after a unanimous Board of Governors vote approved the expansion on Tuesday morning.
The NHL has granted an expansion franchise to Seattle.
The League’s 32nd franchise, which will begin play in 2021-22, was approved in a unanimous vote by the Board of Governors during a meeting today.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 4, 2018
The Seattle franchise will begin play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in 2021-22, giving the city ample time to complete its new $700 million arena renovation.
The Arizona Coyotes will realign to the Central Division, making all four divisions balance out with eight teams each.
According to a press release, the Seattle franchise will pay a $650-million expansion fee, which is to be distributed in equal shares to 30 of the NHL’s existing clubs – with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights which paid $500 million to enter the league in 2017-18.
“Today is an exciting and historic day for our League as we expand to one of North America’s most innovative, beautiful and fastest-growing cities,” said NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman.
“We are delighted to add David Bonderman, Tod Leiweke and the entire NHL Seattle group to the National Hockey League family. And we are thrilled that Seattle, a city with a proud hockey history that includes being the home for the first American team ever to win the Stanley Cup, is finally joining the NHL.”
There will be an expansion draft in June 2021 during which Seattle will operate under the same rules followed by the Vegas Golden Knights during their draft in 2017.
The franchise will be required to select one player from each of the existing teams, except from Vegas.
Home to several WHL franchises, the Emerald City was also home to the first American team to win the Stanley Cup in 1917, defeating the Montréal Canadiennes.