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Seattle lands NHL expansion team from 2021-22

4 December 2018 18:56

Seattle will play host to the NHL's 32nd team from the 2021-22 season after the league's Board of Governors approved an expansion on Tuesday.

The nine-member executive committee that heard Seattle's presentation in October voted to move the decision to the full board, which required a three-quarters vote of the 31 owners to pass.

The expansion fee will be $650million, up from the $500m the Vegas Golden Knights paid to enter the NHL last season.

KeyArena, the former home of the NBA's SuperSonics before they relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008, is expected to be ready by 2020 after being renovated and retrofitted to NHL specifications.

The new franchise - which will play in the Pacific Division, with the Arizona Coyotes moving to the Central - brings balance to the Eastern and Western Conferences at 16 teams apiece.

"Today is an exciting and historic day for our league as we expand to one of North America's most innovative, beautiful and fastest-growing cities," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

"We are delighted to add David Bonderman, Tod Leiweke and the entire NHL Seattle group to the National Hockey League family. 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."

"Today is a historic moment in Seattle sports history," Leiweke, the team's president and CEO, said in a statement. "Our fans are at the core of this movement to bring an NHL team to Seattle and today we celebrate in honour of them."

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