The city of Seattle has been awarded an NHL expansion team, the league announced Tuesday.
Before Tuesday's vote, team and city executives had secured more than 30,000 season-ticket deposits and got an arena plan approved by local government. In October, the board's executive committee voted unanimously to push the expansion bid forward. The full board followed suit on Tuesday, also approving the expansion unanimously.
Renovations to KeyArena, which will become the team's home, are scheduled for completion in the fall of 2020. The league said Seattle's team will begin play in the 2021-22 season. The franchise will pay a $650 million expansion fee, an increase from the $500 million Vegas paid to enter the league.
PREWITT: Seattle Has a Rich Hockey History
The Seattle franchise will be added to the Pacific Division in the Western Conference in 2021-22, with the Arizona Coyotes moving to the Central Division. The team will follow the same expansion draft rules as Vegas did in 2017, selecting a player from each club (except for Vegas) for 30 total players.
The NHL had been at 30 teams since 2000 before deciding to expand to Las Vegas in 2016. The Golden Knights began play a year ago and made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.
Seattle is the largest U.S. city without a major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left in 2008. The expansion provides the NHL with an opportunity to take advantage of another big television market.