As a big hockey fan, it pains me to watch the NHL decline. Not many people care about hockey anymore, especially with the rise in popularity in the NBA. In an attempt to gain popularity, the league announced that it would be expanding to Seattle on Tuesday.
According to the NHL’s website, the team will begin playing in the 2021-2022 season to ensure that the renovations will be completed. The team’s name, logo, and colors will be announced in the coming years leading up to the inaugural season
Seattle has been very active in trying to get another professional sports team. Ever since the Supersonics left, Seattle has only had two teams: the Seahawks, and the Sounders. By getting a professional hockey team, Seattle has shown that it is capable of having more sports teams, opening the door to a potential return of the Supersonics.
The team will join the Pacific division of the NHL, joining the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Las Vegas Golden Knights, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and the Vancouver Canucks.
This is a great move by both the league and the city. Seattle has one of the most passionate fan bases in the country, yet they have been stuck with only two teams. Any team that plays in Seattle will always have a solid following. The NHL also benefits from this in a big way. The league is in decline in popularity, and by moving to Seattle, the NHL is appealing to a well-known sports hotbed in hopes of getting new fans.
As of right now, only the announcement for the team has been made. No coaching or front office positions are expected to be filled until the end of the current season. While the team and city wait for the fall of 2021, the team’s stadium is being renovated and practice arena is breaking ground within the next few months. According to the NHL’s website, the stadium will be upgraded to fit the rink, and once finished will hold 17,400 fans for hockey games. There is not a lot of concrete news as of yet, but if this team is anything like the two teams in Seattle, it will be an instant success.
When the team joins the league, there will be an expansion draft, which will be identical to last year’s when Las Vegas joined the NHL, except that the Golden Knights will be exempt from the draft. Seattle will hope to replicate Las Vegas’ success in their inaugural season, and make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Photo by: NHL