"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", said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during a press conference.
The NHL will add a 32nd franchise in Seattle, the league announced Tuesday after a unanimous vote by the board of governors. Seattle will take a player from every National Hockey League team, except from Vegas, who will be exempt from the process. The cost for league entry will be $650 million, up 30 percent from the $500 million paid by the Vegas Golden Knights to enter the NHL last season. The Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division, meaning that all four league divisions will balance with eight teams each. The group led by majority owner David Bonderman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and president and CEO Tod Leiweke had been hoping for play to begin in 2020.
Bettman also noted that Seattle has a rich hockey history.
"Seattle's one of the fastest-growing cities in the country", NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said recently.
NHL Announces Expansion to Seattle for 2021-22 Season
Seattle's original professional hockey team, the Seattle Metropolitans of the old Pacific Coast Hockey Association (no, *not* the NHL) was the first US -based team to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917. Seattle can not buy out players chosen in the Expansion Draft earlier than the summer following its first season.
The nine-member executive committee that heard Seattle's presentation in October voted unanimously to move the matter to the full board, which is meeting in Georgia.
The NHL Seattle group reached its goal of 10,000 deposits in 12 minutes when a season-ticket drive launched on March 1.
"A team in Seattle evens the number of teams in our two conferences, brings our geographic footprint into greater equilibrium, and creates instant new rivalries out west, particularly between Seattle and Vancouver", Bettman said.
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