NHL approves new professional hockey team for Seattle

Dec 3, 2018, 4:16 PM | Updated: Dec 4, 2018, 10:46 am

Seattle gained a new major sports team Tuesday when the board of the National Hockey League voted in favor of a franchise for the Emerald City.

NHL Seattle timeline: Seattle’s push for hockey

“Today is an exciting day for the National Hockey League,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced at a press conference in Georgia. “I am delighted to announce that this morning the Board of Governors unanimously approved a plan of expansion that will bring a National Hockey League team to Seattle, Washington to play beginning in the 2021-2022 season. Seattle, the NHL is thrilled to welcome you.”

The NHL’s executive committee has moved the proposal for a Seattle hockey team along so far. On Tuesday, it came to a vote by the NHL’s Board of Governors which met in Sea Island, Georgia. The decision was announced immediately following the vote. Bettman said that the addition of a Seattle team will make the NHL more balanced, whole, and vibrant. Seattle will be home to the 32nd hockey team in the league.

“This is the start of a new era of sports, we are going to have the greatest arena, a new sports team that everyone can cheer for, a great rivalry for the Canucks, The Storm are going to have a new home,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said among a crowd of hockey fans gathered at Henry’s Tavern early Tuesday morning to hear the news.

“We know hockey is going to be successful here,” she said, noting that she favors The Krakens as a potential hockey team name. “Because it’s like the sea creature that is strong. But I think there is going to be a dig debate. Whatever they are, they are going to be ours, and we are going to win.”

Durkan also said that developing the hockey team and KeyArena will be a priority, after which “we can talk about whether we bring back the Sonics.”

Upon the approval, NHL Seattle (the group behind the Seattle expansion) is expected to pay $1 million cash to the NHL, which is part of a total $650 million non-refundable franchise fee. According to KIRO 7’s Gary Horcher, the new Seattle team will get to poach a player from each of the other NHL teams to form its roster, except for the Vegas Golden Knights since that team is new.

Seattle gathers for the big news

In the early morning hours leading up to the big announcement, Henry’s Tavern in South Lake Union opened up early for Seattle fans awaiting the news.

Paul Buxton of Seattle waited since about 6:15 a.m. to get into Henry’s for the hockey party.

“Just to be here for this day because it is so important for hockey in Seattle, and a lot of us have been waiting for this for so long,” Buxton said.

Buxton, like many others, had a few preferences for the new team name.

“A couple favorites, like there’s the Totems, that’s a traditional old-school name from the ’60s, and there are fresh ones like the Kraken,” he said. “Whatever they pick, I’ll be down with it because we have a team.”

Otto Rogers traveled from Puyallup to be in line at Henry’s at 6 a.m.

“Hockey means the world to me,” Rogers said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment, this day for the longest time. It means a lot. It will be great to be there with my son on opening day.”

“I’m going to be honest, I’m partial to Seattle Kraken (for a team name),” he said. “If we’re going historical, I like Totems, but Kraken is one of my favorites.”

Rebecca Malloney from Seattle got in line in front of Henry’s at 7 a.m.

“Seattle Kraken! Go octopus!,” she said. “Honestly, I don’t care what they call them, as long as they drop the puck here.”

Seattle already preparing for NHL team

Seattle has been ramping up to such a decision. About 30,000 fans paid earnest money for tickets to an eventual game in the lead up to the approval.

There are also planned renovations to KeyArena that will cost about $700 million. That upgrade is expected to be finished by 2020. But is has been largely dependent on the approval of an NHL team. With that approval, work can begin.

It is unclear if any potential NHL team would be ready to hit the ice by 2020, as it has been hyped. NHL Seattle CEO Tod Lieweke told KIRO 7: “There’s some pretty smart hockey advisors saying, ‘If you can get an additional year to build this, you’ll do right by your fans.’ So, we’re really good with any outcome and I think the key issue is convincing the other owners that 2020 is practical.”

What is known is that Seattle is preparing for a hockey team, even without official approval. A practice facility for a hockey team is expected in Northgate. The 180,000 square-foot practice space will be part of the mall’s remodel over the coming years and will be located at the east side of the mall property. Construction on that will begin “as soon as feasible,” according to Simon Malls COO Michael E. McCarty.

Even before the team’s approval, the NHL Seattle group has said that its name will be revealed in spring 2019. There are many opinions on the eventual title from folks around Seattle, including one romance novelist.

Seattle has been favored as an addition to the NHL’s lineup even before Tuesday’s vote. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently told the AP:

Seattle’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. It gives us a geographic balance. It creates a nice geographic rivalry with Vancouver. I know Vancouver’s particularly excited about the possibility. The ownership group, the plans for the arena – it’s all of the above. It’s never one factor. If you’re going to have a successful expansion application, all of the bases need to be touched and all of them need to be checked off as being appropriate and right.


Local News

comic con...
MyNorthwest Staff

Emerald City Comic Con returns Dec. 2-5 after being cancelled in 2020

Emerald City Comic Con didn't happen in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the popular four-day event returns to Seattle on Dec. 2-5.
1 day ago
Whatcom County...
MyNorthwest Staff

Forecasters downgrade flood warning for Skagit River

The National Weather Service in Seattle has downgraded the flood peak for the Skagit River.
2 days ago
police, Lake City seattle...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Person seriously injured in shooting Friday inside Tacoma Mall

A person is in serious conditions after they were shot in the middle of the Tacoma Mall food court on Friday.
3 days ago
Sawant recall...
Dalton Day

A recall Sawant PAC has been released from campaign contribution limit

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has released a recall Councilmember Kshama Sawant PAC from its campaign contribution limits.
3 days ago
hand sanitizer...
Dalton Day

COVID-era artifact, emergency-produced hand sanitizer, comes to an end for local distillery

Copperworks Distilling Company has been ordered to shut down its manufacturing of hand sanitizer, which provided critical health care supplies.
3 days ago
COVID variant...
Charlie Harger

‘Bellwether bond’ down over COVID-variant concerns, ‘sending strong signal,’ says local analyst

Analyst Mike Alfstad of Seattle's Alfstad Capital clarifies how the newly identified COVID variant has affected the 10-Year Treasury yield.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
NHL approves new professional hockey team for Seattle