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OT: Seattle officially getting NHL Team

07 December, 2018, 10:17 | Author: Drew Briggs
  • Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Kelly, left, Otto Rogers and Rebecca Moloney cheer the announcement of a new NHL hockey team in Seattle at a celebratory party Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Seattle.

The NHL awarded Seattle with a franchise on Tuesday and while the team isn't going to begin play until the 2021-22 season, management is already confident it can ice a competitive team from the start. The rules will likely be similar to the 2017 expansion draft for the incoming Vegas Golden Knights, which allowed teams to either protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender or, one goaltender and eight skaters regardless of position.

Fans of the former National Basketball Association franchise Seattle Sonics, which moved and became the Oklahoma City Thunder, show signs on June 19, 2012, at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

Also as part of the expansion, the coyotes will move to the central division.

"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", said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

The other National Hockey League owners now get to spilt a US$650-million expansion fee, on top of the US$500-million they divvied up from Vegas. In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup (back then, the victor of the PCHA played the victor of the NHL for the cup).

A three-quarters vote of the current 31 owners is needed to confirm Seattle as the league's newest franchise.

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Team and city officials in Seattle have already secured more than 30,000 season-ticket deposits and received approvals from local government for arena plans.

But whatever name the club goes by, Leiweke is convinced the venture will succeed. Its economy has boomed in the past decade since the departure of the NBA's SuperSonics to Oklahoma City.

As CEO Tod Leiweke said, "That's when we all knew that this was the right idea".

The belief at the moment is that the arena will be ready to open for concerts and the WNBA Storm in the spring of 2021, starting the revenue stream that must pay off construction debt over the 39-year length of the lease.

"I love Seattle", Bonderman said.

While there are always a few visiting fans in the stands at Rogers Arena, those in the tourism industry are hoping to see larger groups travel to Vancouver once the Seattle team gets going in 2021. "If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it". "That's why today happened". "He's one of those guys who you think will keep getting better and better every single day". "Seattle is one of North American's great sports towns, and we're about to become one of its great hockey towns". Houston, Quebec City and Toronto have all been touted as possible new homes someday, but they'll also have to wait.



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