There was never any doubt, but it’s always good when things are finally set in stone. Seattle is officially getting a National Hockey League team.
On Tuesday, the NHL’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to approve Seattle’s expansion bid. The league’s 32nd franchise will take the ice at the renovated KeyArena (now known as the Seattle Center Arena) for the 2021–22 NHL season.
The announcement came as a mere formality, as the NHL had been transparently desperate to get a team in Seattle for years. When the Oak View Group — led by majority owner David Bonderman and CEO Tod Leiweke — came up with a clear plan for expansion and arena renovation, it became more of a foregone conclusion than Wayne Gretzky scoring on an empty net. When the group began a season ticket deposit drive earlier this year, they hit their goal of 10,000 deposits in only 12 minutes (and currently have 32,000 deposits).
There’s still plenty to be sorted out before Seattle hockey becomes a reality. First and foremost, there’s still no team name. The roster will be constructed largely through an expansion draft in summer 2021. Practice facilities will need to be built. Oak View Group will host a groundbreaking ceremony for Seattle Center Arena on Dec. 5 now that the team has been secured.
2021 is still a long way away, but Seattle’s NHL team finally feels close.