It’s been long awaited, but Seattle is officially approved for receiving the 32ndNHL franchise. The approval was voted on at the Board of Governors meeting Tuesday morning. Seattle will begin play in the 2021-22 season.
I think this is great for the league. Personally, I thought Seattle deserved the 31stexpansion team that ended up going to Vegas. Seattle has a great fan base and has been itching for another team since the SuperSonics went to Oklahoma City. If the fans are anything like they are for the Seahawks, that stadium is going to get LOUD. I think they could develop a great border rivalry with Vancouver once they get good.
Seattle will be placed in the Pacific Division in their inaugural season. This will move the Arizona Coyotes to the Central division. They, of course, will hold an expansion draft, presumably with the same rules that were used for the Golden Knights. Seattle will play at KeyArena, which housed the SuperSonics until 2008. The arena seats 17,400, 10,000 of which are season tickets. In just 12 minutes, the Seattle franchise sold 10,000 deposits for season tickets.
Washington has produced many NHL players, three currently in the names of T.J. Oshie, Tyler Johnson, and Derek Ryan. The Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL have seen sustained success at the junior hockey level, winning a championship in 2017 and appearing in the Memorial Cup for a second time. The state loves hockey and will have a strong fan base. I’m excited to see what they decide to call themselves. Earlier this year, Bovada posted these odds for the name of the Seattle team.
Seattle is a great city for this league. I’m the type of person who hates odd numbers, I can’t keep the TV volume on an odd number, so the best part about this is seeing 32 teams instead of 31. Seattle should succeed, given they have diehard fans in every sport and have built a hockey town in their WHL team. If hockey can succeed in the desert, it will work perfectly in the Pacific Northwest.