NHL Announces Expansion to Seattle for 2021-22 Season

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The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved adding Seattle as the league's 32nd franchise on Tuesday.

However, uncertainty over completing KeyArena renovations in time means Seattle will have to wait another year for the return of a major winter sports team. The still-unnamed team will begin play in the 2021-22 season, while construction on their future home, the Seattle Center Arena, will begin Wednesday.

It's official - the National Hockey League is coming back to the Emerald City.

The announcement is a huge milestone for Seattle Hockey Partners, an ownership group that includes Tim Leiweke, David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer, as well as Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy and majority Seattle Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer.

The NHL Seattle group reached its goal of 10,000 deposits in 12 minutes when a season-ticket drive launched on March 1.

The owners will pay a $650 million expansion fee, up from the $500 million the Vegas Golden Knights paid to join the league.

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The board's nine-member executive committee recommended proceeding with the expansion application back in October after a presentation that included Bonderman, Bruckheimer and Leiweke.

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

WATCH BELOW: Seattle Hockey Partners video on KeyArena renovations. "The Golden Knights will not participate in this expansion draft, meaning they won't lose a player".

A team in Seattle balances the Eastern and Western Conferences at 16 teams apiece, but also requires realignment to even out the Central and Pacific Divisions.

Seattle's original professional hockey team, the Seattle Metropolitans of the old Pacific Coast Hockey Association (no, *not* the NHL) was the first USA -based team to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917.

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