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Seattle takes first step toward landing NHL expansion team

Monday, the Seattle City Council voted 7-1 in favor of a $660 million plan to renovate KeyArena. Is the endgame housing a new NHL franchise?

Is the National Hockey League ready for another expansion team? With the success of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, there has been talk of the league expanding once again. Along with Seattle, Quebec City and Houston have been other cities thrown around as possible expansion locations.

On Monday, the Emerald City took a huge step in getting the expansion team process moving as the Seattle City Council voted 7-1 in favor of renovating KeyArena. The Los Angeles-based Oak View Group leads this initiative to get the KeyArena renovated by the fall of 2020. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times believes an announcement regarding expansion could come soon.

“With the deal in place, the NHL is expected in coming months to make a franchise announcement regarding Seattle. The league could award an expansion franchise or have a team relocate here from an existing market struggling to have a new arena built — with Arizona or Calgary the two most likely franchises.” Baker wrote.

Hockey agent Allan Walsh believes its just a matter of time before Seattle is awarded an NHL franchise.

As of Monday night, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had not commented on the vote. It is believed that the league would like another team to balance out the divisions in each conference of the NHL. Currently, they are playing with 31 teams.

The project’s completion date of 2020 assumes construction beginning in October 2018, preventing KeyArena from hosting the opening rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in March 2019. The city and Oak View Group plan to contact the NCAA and the acting host, the University of Washington, to move the tournament and stage an ensuing edition later in a renovated facility.

A renovated KeyArena seating capacity for a hockey game will be 17,150.

There are plenty of steps to go and money to be spent before Seattle could be awarded a franchise. But Monday’s vote has started the process to bring professional hockey to Seattle.

A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at Nyrfc12@gmail.com