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National Hockey League approves Seattle expansion for '21-22 season

05 December 2018
National Hockey League approves Seattle expansion for '21-22 season

A hockey franchise would provide those newcomers a team to rally around, much like what happened when the Sounders of Major League Soccer arrived in 2009 - the last team added to the city's sport landscape. There is the preseason to consider, after all, which will start in mid-September.

The 2021-22 season. Seattle would have loved to have its team take the ice for the 2020-21 season, but arena renovations may not be done in time and no one wants to risk it. Many expect the Arizona Coyotes to be moved to the Central Division in 2021 when Seattle enters the league.

In this April 11, 2018, file photo, part-owners Jerry Bruckheimer, left, and David Bonderman pose with Tod Leiweke and a hockey stick during a news conference naming Leiweke as the president and CEO for a prospective NHL expansion team in Seattle.

At the moment, the Central is clearly a much stronger division than the Pacific. Their city has even won a Stanley Cup, as the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to capture it in 1917. The Red Wings and other clubs will be allowed to protect certain players from the expansion draft. That figure dwarfs the previous record $500 million paid by the Vegas Golden Knights ownership group before their 2017-18 debut season.

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.

Tippett could feel the excitement building when he was back in Arizona over the Thanksgiving holiday, noting that people told him on the golf course they hoped Seattle would get a team.

What are we calling this thing?

Four team names advanced to the final few rounds of voting, with two going head-to-head in the fourth and final round. Your guess is as good as mine, but we shouldn't have to wait much longer to find out.

"Right now everything we've done is kind of geared toward 2020", Seattle Hockey Partners senior adviser Dave Tippett said. 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.

WATCH BELOW: Seattle Hockey Partners video on KeyArena renovations. Obviously, Seattle's a great city. He also worked in Vancouver and most recently helped build Tampa Bay into a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.