The NHL's 32nd team was unanimously approved in a vote and will begin play in 2021-22 in a renovated Key Arena.
Elected officials promised a $700 million renovation plan to KeyArena would attract an National Hockey League team to the city first, and possibly an NBA team.
The Seattle team will join the Western Conference's Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes being bumped over to the Central Division for the 2021/22 campaign.
That's where the longtime coach-turned-senior adviser keeps a running list of players around the league who might be available in an expansion draft that is still 2½ years off.
"Today is an exciting and historic day for our league as we expand to one of North America's most innovative, lovely and fastest-growing cities", said Gary Bettman.
The franchise will pay an expansion fee of $650 million, which will be equally distributed to 30 National Hockey League teams. Seattle was the first US city to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917.
Derek Grant is a native of Abbottsford, B.C., which is about a one-hour drive east of Vancouver and a two-hour drive north of Seattle. Some GMs have said privately they would be more inclined this time to lose one desirable player rather than give up multiple assets to save one.
Seattle certainly would love to have the Sonics back after the franchise was shipped off to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 2008 by owner Clay Bennett. "And we all agreed that it was better to get the building done right". The new expansion team, now without a name, is scheduled to begin play in the 2021-2022 season as a member of the Pacific Division.
"I love Seattle", said Bonderman, who has deep ties to the city.
The belief at the moment is that the arena will be ready to open for concerts and the WNBA Storm in the spring of 2021, starting the revenue stream that must pay off construction debt over the 39-year length of the lease.
"It's down the road a little bit", Keller, who can become a restricted free agent after next season, said after the Coyotes morning skate prior to their game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV).
"We're not looking right now and I think for the foreseeable future at any further expansion", Bettman said.
According to Emily Kaplan of ESPN, no one seems to mind that Seattle will play with the same rules previously offered to a team which went to the Stanley Cup in their inaugural season. "If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it". The amount of wealth now in the Seattle market is part of the reason Tim Leiweke, Tod's older brother and the CEO of event facilities giant Oak View Group, has regularly calls the city one of the most enticing expansion opportunities in pro sports history. Today is a great day for the fans and we owe them so much.