On Tuesday, the NHL's Board of Governors voted to let Seattle launch the league's 32nd hockey franchise for the 2021-2022 season, and it's largely thanks to potential fans of a previously nonexistent team.
Talks of a Seattle team began late last year as an ownership group said it would pay $650 million for a team expansion, per the NHL. That's $150 million more than Las Vegas paid for its NHL addition, and not counting the $800 million funders plan to pay to renovate the existing KeyArena into the Seattle team's official home. NHL Seattle originally wanted the team start playing in 2020, but told The Seattle Times this decision gives them more time to deliver a top-notch facility.
Hockey stardom is nothing new for the Washington city. A little more than 100 years ago, the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup. The team soon collapsed when its league, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, folded in 1924. Hockey faded into junior leagues from then on, but fans didn't seem to lose interest. When a season ticket waitlist opened in March, 10,000 prospective fans put down deposits in just 12 minutes, write the Times.
Seattle's unnamed team follows the instantly successful Vegas Golden Knights as the NHL's latest addition. And given that Arizona and Florida have (multiple) NHL teams, it seems fitting that a state that can actually produce ice gets one too. Kathryn Krawczyk