Seattle Officially Announced as NHL's 32nd Team

Ice hockey fans celebrate the announcement of Seattle being awarded an NHL expansion franchise in a bar in the city

Season-ticket deposits for the new team sold out in 31 hours earlier this year

Even after Vegas made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season, Bettman said in May that he had received "no pushback whatsoever" from other league owners about repeating the same process for Seattle. There is the preseason to consider, after all, which will start in mid-September.

Seattle's original professional hockey team, the Seattle Metropolitans of the old Pacific Coast Hockey Association (no, *not* the NHL) was the first USA -based team to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917. The Arizona Coyotes will move to the Western Conference's Central Division when Seattle joins the league. That will trigger a realignment that will send the Arizona Coyotes to the Central Division. The Central Division, which now has seven teams, is the only division in the league that doesn't have eight members. "And we are thrilled that Seattle, a city with a proud hockey history that includes being the home for the first American team ever to win the Stanley Cup, is finally joining the NHL". It said the expansion fee will be apportioned equally to the rest of the league's teams except Las Vegas, which joined the NHL in the 2017-18 season.

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National Hockey League general managers will be a little more leery about the players made available in the expansion draft after watching Vegas go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in its first year last season. The rules for the latest expansion draft, including how many players teams will be allowed to protect, will be announced at a later date.

The NHL's launch in Seattle will show how starved fans are for another team.

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"Seattle's one of the fastest-growing cities in the country", NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said recently. "We needed to make the team more competitive".

"There's going to be a built-in rivalry (with Vancouver)", said Tod Leiweke, Seattle Hockey Partners president and CEO. As for colors, Leiweke indicated that the usual Seattle scheme of blue and green is likely out of the question because it's what the Canucks use, and speculation is that black and red could factor in prominently considering how much it has been used already by the NHL Seattle group. KeyArena will be gutted, essentially resulting in a brand new stadium at Seattle Center, in the shadows of the Space Needle. Obviously, Seattle's a great city.

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There are also plans to build a $70-million practice facility.

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