National Hockey League unanimously approves Seattle expansion

NHL votes to give expansion franchise to Seattle

NHL approves Seattle expansion franchise, set to begin play in 2021 nearby Amazon campus

"Seattle, the NHL is thrilled to welcome to you", said commissioner Gary Bettman, who made the announcement at league meetings being held in Sea Island, Georgia.

A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday in downtown Seattle. If a team elects to make a restricted free agent goalie available to meet this requirement, that goalie must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the team's protected list.

WATCH BELOW: Seattle Hockey Partners video on KeyArena renovations.

Seattle must choose a minimum of 20 players under contract for the 2021-22 regular season and those with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100 percent of the prior season's upper limit for the salary cap.

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"We're working on the name and we're working on the tickets", Tippett said. "We believe it will be one of the finest arenas in the world".

A Seattle franchise would mean the addition of a 16th team to the Western Conference, matching the number in the East. The Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division, meaning that all four league divisions will balance with eight teams each. With just 230 kilometres separating the two cities, Seattle will ease the Canucks' brutal travel schedule and create the first natural geographic rivalry in franchise history. The NHL announced back in March that any potential expansion draft for Seattle would be conducted under the same rules that Vegas was given upon their entrance into the league, though Vegas will be exempt from the process. Seattle will take a player from every National Hockey League team, except from Vegas, who will be exempt from the process. The Seattle Metropolitans were the first American team to win the Stanley Cup, defeating the Montreal Canadians in 1917.

Of course, everyone wants to know what the team's name will be.

Seattle is the largest USA city without a major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left in 2008.

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