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NHL Approves Seattle Expansion Team

The NHL approved the Seattle expansion team Tuesday by a unanimous decision. The team will launch in the 2021-2022 season.

The National Hockey League’s board of governors voted Tuesday to approve Seattle as the 32nd NHL franchise for the 2021-2022 season. The unanimous decision was announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The inclusion comes after the yet-to-be-named Seattle hockey team met the NHL goal of 10,000 season ticket deposits. That number was reached within 12 minutes of sales. To date, there are 32,000 depositors for season tickets.

“Today is a historic moment in Seattle’s sports history,” NHL Seattle CEO Todd Leiweke said in a statement. “We appreciate the City of Seattle’s ongoing leadership in helping us reach this milestone. Mayor Jenny Durkan has been a champion in the campaign to bring the NHL to Seattle and leading the charge on the arena project. Seattle Center and city staff have been great partners in making this dream a reality.”

The team will play at the Key Arena after $700M in renovations. The first season will be 2021-2022. Team owners were hoping to launch the team in the 2020-2021 season, but the NHL board opted to wait a year over concerns about the arena’s completion date.

The NHL Seattle organization will build a three-rink ice skating facility at the Northgate Mall that will serve as a training facility for its potential expansion team. The 180K SF project will include public skating facilities. The cost to construct the rinks will be approximately $70M. 

The training rink will seat 1,000 spectators. The ice rinks will be available to the public and be rented to youth sports organizations. The NHL Seattle organization said it hopes the inclusion of public rinks will help grow the sport of hockey in the Seattle area.

The complex will be on the east side of the Northgate Mall property and will anchor the Simon Property Group’s planned mixed-use redevelopment. Simon is in the planning stages of adding between 500K and 700K SF of retail space and a similar amount of office space. It will also add several hundred units of housing and hospitality.