NHL approves expansion to Seattle

The 32nd franchise will call the Emerald City home


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announces Seattle as the home of the league's 32nd franchise, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, at the Board of Governors annual meeting in Sea Island, Ga.

Colin Kirkwood, Sports editor

This past Tuesday, the NHL Board of Governors met to vote on the future of the National Hockey League making an expansion into the Emerald City, otherwise known as Seattle. The vote passed with flying colors, as the 32nd franchise was approved unanimously by the board. The target date for this franchise to begin play in the league is listed for the 2021-22 season. This won’t be an inexpensive venture for proud new owner David Bonderman, as he will have to pay the $650 million dollar expansion fee required by the league. Just for reference, the Vegas Golden Knights were only required to pay a grand total of $500 million back in 2015. According to the league, these funds will be “distributed in equal shares to 30 of the current clubs” the only exception is that Vegas will not be getting a payday from the new kid on the block. 

The name, colors and logo of this new team are still up in the air but can be expected to burst on the scene in the coming months, which is always an exciting part of the process. This will however throw a wrench into the alignment of the Western Conference teams. However only one team will be playing musical chairs, and that is the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes currently reside in the Pacific Division alongside the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, LA Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and the Vegas Golden Knights. Arizona will be bumped into the Central Division, which holds the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets. The Coyotes have only captured the Division Title once since relocating from Winnipeg, in the 2011-12 season where the advanced to the Conference Finals and fell to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings.

A new expansion means that the league will be required to go through the process of an expansion draft. Seattle will select 30 players from every active club in the league (besides Vegas who is exempt). These 30 players should sort into the following categories: 14 forwards, 9 defensemen and 3 goalies. Don’t fret however, this doesn’t mean that your favorite player will be snatched and relocated to a new home. Current teams have the ability to protect players that are important to their respective franchises, in two different forms. Format A is as follows: 7 forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or format B: 8 skaters which can be a mix of forwards and defensemen and one goalie. As long as your favorite player makes the cut, they will be staying put. It’s important to note that if a player has a “No Movement” clause in their contract that isn’t waived must be added to the list of protected players. 

Something that most people might not know is that Seattle actually held the first American team that captured the Stanley Cup. The team was known as the Metropolitans when they snagged hockey’s greatest prize in 1917 by a series score of 3-1 over the perennial favorite Montreal Canadiens. The team continued to compete until they folded in 1924. It will be exciting to see how this new team is branded and the best part of all is that both Conferences will once again be balanced at 16 teams a piece. Have any guesses or ideas on what this new team should be called? Tweet them to us @CalTimes for a chance to be featured on or page!