NHL releases its decision on Seattle expansion team
The hard work and money that went into trying to secure an NHL franchise in Seattle, WA has paid off. The hockey league's board of directors, in a meeting held last night, unanimously approved the new franchise, which will become the 32nd team in the league. With the vote out of the way, construction will now begin on a new stadium and the team should be ready to take the ice for the first time for the 2021 season.
The ownership group behind the franchise includes David Bonderman of TPG Capital and movie producer Jerry Mogul. The group will have to pay an expansion fee to the NHL in the amount of $650 million, which is $150 million more than what was paid when the latest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, entered the league for the 2017 season.
The new stadium that will be home to the team will be the Seattle Center Arena, a completely renovated facility of the existing KeyArena. Construction costs have been estimated at around $700 million and workers are already on the site to put the project in motion. The franchise's backers have said that they believe they can have the stadium ready for the 2020 season, but the more realistic target will be for the following year.
The team, which has yet to be named, will give Seattle a huge presence in professional sports. The MLB's Seattle Mariners and the WNBA's Seattle Storm are located there, as are the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.