The NHL Board of Directors on Tuesday awarded an expansion franchise to Seattle, where the league's 32nd team will play games at a redeveloped KeyArena beginning in the 2021-22 season, just a few blocks away from Amazon's headquarters and offices of other tech giants such as Google and Facebook.
KeyArena is now undergoing a multi million dollar renovation. Many expect the Arizona Coyotes to be moved to the Central Division in 2021 when Seattle enters the league. For comparison, the Vegas Golden Knights paid a fee of $500 million two years ago.
With a metro population of approximately 3.8 million people, Seattle was the largest city in the United States without both an National Hockey League and an NBA team since the Sonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008. The Sonics also played in KeyArena.
Tuesday's vote ended what had become a months-long inevitability. That exceeds the goal of 10,000 deposits - which was reached in the first 12 minutes. The committee voted 9-0 to recommend and forward the bid to the league's full board of governors.
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Professional hockey is coming back to the Emerald City.
"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", Bettman said. 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. "This was the first expansion in the salary-cap era as we afford all of our clubs an opportunity to be competitive, it wouldn't make any sense to not have the expansion team the same way".