When? Where? Name? A look at Seattle's NHL expansion team

Getty Image

Getty Image

Seattle has never had an National Hockey League team, but they do have a Stanley Cup to their name.

Seattle Hockey Partners President and CEO Tod Leiweke speaks after the NHL Board of Governors named Seattle as the league's 32nd franchise, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Sea Island, Ga.

It follows the introduction of the Vegas Golden Knights as the 31st franchise last season after an expansion draft in which existing teams could only protect certain players, with others made available to be picked up by the new team.

Long months are ahead before the as-yet-unnamed team plays its first game, but work is already underway and the effort can begin in earnest now that the NHL Board of Governors has officially awarded Seattle a franchise. To accommodate the newest team, the Arizona Coyotes will be moving into the Central Division, finally balancing the NHL's conferences and giving each division eight teams.

Seattle will draft one player from every team's roster except for Las Vegas.

"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.

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The new team will pay a US$650 million expansion fee, which is US$150 million more than the Vegas Golden Knights paid in 2016. The Metropolitans played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association alongside the Vancouver Millionaires, the only team to ever bring the Stanley Cup to Vancouver.

"I remember sharing with Gary Bettman years ago that I thought Seattle could be an incredible market for the NHL", Leiweke said.

The addition of Seattle to the National Hockey League means a $21.6 million windfall for the Detroit Red Wings. But, as news of the expansion team spread across social media, Twitter users had way more exciting and funnier names for the NHL's newest franchise.

"We're going to take our time", Leiweke said of the name. Its economy has boomed in the past decade since the departure of the NBA's SuperSonics to Oklahoma City. That's when we all knew that this was the right idea. So a team for them that's close, I think it's great for the area. "If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it".

"Certainly we're going to be able to lay eyes on players for an additional season", said Leiweke, who's only hockey hire to date is adding former NHL coach Dave Tippett as a senior advisor. No team name, an ownership group they didn't know very well, a building plan that was back then somewhat defined but fairly vague. Leiweke said arena renovations will cost $800 million and the addition of a state-of-the-art practice facility makes it a total investment of over $1.5 billion.

Tippett has a hand in all those projects and is also working to settle Seattle's American Hockey League affiliate.

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