NHL unanimously approves expansion to Seattle

NHL unanimously approves expansion to Seattle

Seattle's franchise will join the league starting with the 2021-22 season.

On Tuesday, the league's board of governors unanimously voted to approve Seattle as the 32nd NHL franchise.

"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.

In this April 11, 2018, file photo, part-owners Jerry Bruckheimer, left, and David Bonderman pose with Tod Leiweke and a hockey stick during a news conference naming Leiweke as the president and CEO for a prospective NHL expansion team in Seattle.

A three-quarters vote of the current 31 owners is needed to confirm Seattle as the league's newest franchise. That figure dwarfs the previous record $500 million paid by the Vegas Golden Knights ownership group before their 2017-18 debut season. Its front office is expected to be led by Dave Tippett, a former coach who would lead the search for the club's first general manager and staff. Tippett signed on to the project because of a connection to Leiweke, a major force in delivering an National Hockey League team to Seattle. Seattle will select one player from each team excluding the Golden Knights for a total of 30 (14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies) not including additional players who may be acquired as the result of violations of the Expansion Draft rules.

Leiweke got his start in hockey with the Minnesota Wild.

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The NHL also announced divisional realignment, which will go into effect once Seattle begins play. "What did they feel on March 1 when they put down deposits without knowing anything?" The team's ownership group - led by by billionaire businessman David Bonderman - said they'll take their time deciding on a team name, but that certainly hasn't stopped early speculation and input. Today is a great day for the fans and we owe them so much.

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

There's plenty of interest for a pro hockey team in the city, CBS Sports writes. With just 230 kilometres separating the two cities, Seattle will ease the Canucks' brutal travel schedule and create the first natural geographic rivalry in franchise history.

"We will keep the historic roof, and everything else will be new", Leiweke said, adding that construction begins tomorrow.

"We're not looking right now and I think for the foreseeable future at any further expansion", Bettman said.

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