Seattle has had multiple other minor-league teams, and come close to adding an NHL franchise at various times prior to this year.
Clayton Keller will have to wait two more seasons to make a firm assessment, but the Arizona Coyotes center said Tuesday he's looking forward to the Coyotes moving to the Central Division in 2021-22, when the Seattle expansion team plays its first season in the National Hockey League.
A date has not yet been set for a hockey expansion draft for Seattle to populate its first roster, but the NHL did say it will follow the same rules and format that were in place for Las Vegas' expansion draft in 2017. The Seattle team will play in the Seattle Center Arena, formerly the KeyArena.
The new Seattle team will join the Pacific Division in the Western Conference, with the Arizona Coyotes moving to the Central Division.
We took a look at a potential 2020 expansion draft for the Devils over the summer, but the Totems/Sasquatch/Teen Spirits/TBD will not begin playing until the 2021-22 season.
"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 in a statement.
The team's $650 million expansion fee will be paid by Seattle's ownership group led by private equity CEO David Bonderman, the league said in a press release. According to the NHL, the Seattle Metropolitans, who played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, won the cup in 1917. "The league's expansion decision was only made possible because Seattle will possess the three pillars essential to the success of any franchise: terrific and committed ownership, a thriving market and a state-of-the-art venue". "Expanding to Seattle makes the National Hockey League more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant".
But whatever name the club goes by, Leiweke is convinced the venture will succeed. The team moved to Seattle in 1977 but has played its games in Kent since 2009.
When Canadians think of Seattle, much of what we know comes from media and entertainment.
"I love Seattle", Bonderman said.
Judging on early graphics created by the NHL Seattle group, it appears that the new team will use red and black as its colors. "If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it". KeyArena is scheduled to open in March 2021.
Seattle will be able to select one player from every team except Vegas. But today I think about the fans. "That's why today happened". "Seattle is one of North American's great sports towns, and we're about to become one of its great hockey towns".
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.