Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Sport | By Matt Richards

Seattle expected to land National Hockey League franchise

Seattle expected to land National Hockey League franchise

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.

The NHL Seattle group reached its goal of 10,000 deposits in 12 minutes when a season-ticket drive launched on March 1.

The NHL is coming to Seattle.

The new NHL Seattle franchise will play in the Pacific Division with Las Vegas and Vancouver. The renovations are scheduled to be done by the fall of 2020, but the National Hockey League could push the team's inaugural season back to 2021-22 to be safe. But the deeper they got into discussions with league officials the more they came around to the value of having another year to get ready.

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The Seattle Metropolitans? So, we'd have the Seattle Metropolitans and the New York Metropolitans?

All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club's applicable protection limits).

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says it was an easy decision to approve Seattle expansion for 2021, not 2020, because of concerns about when downtown arena renovations will be done.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was a big supporter of getting pro hockey back to Seattle, which was home to the 1917 Stanley Cup champions. 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.

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The Seattle ownership group already seems to possess a top-end sense of occasion, including flying Beverley Parsons, the niece of original Seattle Metropolitans owners Frank and Lester Patrick, in for Tuesday's announcement. And ultimately, for our fans, this will be a good thing. Seattle will be placed in the same division with Vancouver, the closest team by geography, so that means Arizona will be moved out of the Pacific and into Central starting with the 2021 season. 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. The Penguins have four players with NMCs under contract in 2021 - Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang. There has been a hole in the winter calendar there since the NBA's SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.

But for those in Seattle it's been an excruciating process full of stops and starts, and several failed arena projects.

Leiweke got his start in hockey with the Minnesota Wild.

Of course, everyone wants to know what the team's name will be. Believe it or not, there are no permanent public ice rinks inside the Seattle city limits, but that will change with the training center, which will feature a grand total of three rinks.

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