Bettman and company have not only made a lot of friends on the west coast with an NHL team bound for Seattle, but he has no doubt strengthened his relationship with the league's board of governors.
The NHL officially welcomed the city of Seattle to the family Tuesday, announcing that an expansion team will begin play at the start of the 2021-22 season. According to Bettman, Seattle will be afforded the same advantages that Vegas had in being able to draft quality players from other teams, with one minor wrinkle: the Golden Knights, who are in their second season, won't be losing anyone.
The arena at Seattle Center is undergoing a $700 million privately financed renovation. They will join the Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes moving the the Central Division. "The incentive to keep more than seven forwards or more than three defensmen - depending on the team - would result in the penalty of exposing more players to the expansion draft".
The fact that an ownership group headed by David Bonderman and Hollywood film producer Jerry Bruckheimer paid $150 million more in expansion fees than what Vegas paid two years ago also didn't hurt. In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup (back then, the victor of the PCHA played the victor of the NHL for the cup).
On a Whitecaps game night, Seattle Sounders fans are usually quite visible, but due to the Canuck's geographic isolation from other National Hockey League teams, it's rare to see larger groups of visiting fans.
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The news means that Seattle will have a representative in three of the four U.S. major leagues, with the Seattle NHL outfit set to join the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL) and the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB), along with the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer (MLS). The move gives Seattle the major winter sports franchise it now lacks and puts hockey in a market where the NHL believes it will thrive.
But whatever name the club goes by, Leiweke is convinced the venture will succeed. The as-yet unnamed franchise will be the Emerald City's first major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left town in 2008. They're doing all the right things in terms of building a new arena, or revitalizing KeyArena. Its front office is expected to be led by Dave Tippett, a former coach who would lead the search for the club's first general manager and staff. Tippett signed on to the project because of a connection to Leiweke, a major force in delivering an National Hockey League team to Seattle.
Judging on early graphics created by the NHL Seattle group, it appears that the new team will use red and black as its colors. Obviously, Seattle's a great city. "If it were someplace else, I wouldn't have done it".
"I was always optimistic but I didn't think it was ever a guarantee. That's why today happened".
It will also pick up on a hockey history in the city.