Ministry of Sport

Seattle Awarded 32nd NHL Franchise From 2021-22 Season

The American city of Seattle has been awarded an expansion franchise to become the 32nd team in the National Hockey League (NHL) after a unanimous vote by the board of governors.

The new Seattle team will join the Pacific Division in the Western Conference from the 2021-22 season, which sparks a reshuffle, sending the Arizona Coyotes into the Central Division.

The cost for league entry will be $650 million, up 30 per cent from the $500 million paid by the Vegas Golden Knights to enter the NHL last season, however, the team has already sold 32,000 season-ticket deposits.

The ownership group consists of majority owner and investment banker David Bonderman, Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and CEO Tod Leiweke, who most recently worked as the NFL’s chief operating officer before he resigned in March.

“Seattle, the NHL is thrilled to welcome you,” NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman said.

“I know those words are words that the passionate and patient fans in Seattle have longed to hear so this is a day for celebration.”

They will play at the Seattle Center Arena, formerly the KeyArena, which is set to have an $800m renovation.

The ice hockey franchise will join NFL side Seattle Seahawks, baseball team Seattle Mariners and Major League Soccer outfit Seattle Sounders.

Seattle has not had a winter sports team since the NBA’s SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney