There’s a new expansion team coming to the NHL, and they will be hoping they can replicate the success of the Golden Knights. Here’s everything you need to know about Seattle’s new NHL team.
What will they be called?
As of yet, there is no official name for the new Seattle hockey team, but there is a shortlist of possibilities. The 32nd league team in the NHL could be called the Kraken, Rainiers, Emeralds, Whales, or Sea Lions. There are more names on the list, but the team will take some guidance from locals.
The Seattle Times ran a poll and the city answered, declaring the Sockeys their favored name, closely followed by the Totems and the Metropolitans. The new NHL team’s CEO declared they were prepared to listen to fans, adding they would put no time pressure on themselves to come up with a name.
When do they join the NHL?
The expansion has been announced already, but it won’t be for a few years until we get to see them skating on the ice. Seattle’s ice hockey fans will have to wait until the 2021/2022 season for their new team to get up and running. The team will have to wait until June 2021 until they can enter the expansion draft. Seattle might have been hoping to join the league a little earlier, but the NHL had some concerns about the arena being ready in time, so they have to wait.
Where will they call home?
Seattle once had a basketball team, the SuperSonics, until they moved to Oklahoma but they did leave behind an arena. The new NHL team will be repurposing that arena, renaming it the Seattle Center, and it is undergoing a $700 million redevelopment. The arena has an iconic roof, which developers maintain they will keep, but everything else will be given a facelift, and the square footage is expected to double.
There will be plenty of support for the new team as 33,000 deposits were put down on season tickets in less than half an hour of availability. Unfortunately only 17,400 will fit in the arena, so there are going to be some disappointed hockey fans missing out in Seattle.
Seattle will be playing in the Pacific Division, meaning the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division in 2021. It cost their owner around $500 million in fees to the NHL and a further $700 million to develop their arena. The expansion team will follow the same rules as the Golden Knights and will have to select a player from all 30 teams in the league, excluding the Vegas team. Seattle will have to end up with 14 forwards, nine defenseman, and three goaltenders from those picks.
Seattle will look to welcome their new expansion team into the NHL in a few years. For now, they need to concentrate on getting their arena in shape and start thinking about players to draft to emulate the Golden Knights’ dream debut season.