Mayor Jenny Durkan with hockey fans at Henry’s Tavern on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. She announced to the crowd that Seattle had been awarded a hockey team from the NHL.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Casey Martin
Seattle is back on the ice. The National Hockey League’s board voted Tuesday to add a team in the Emerald City.
In a raucous event at Henry’s Tavern in South Lake Union, Mayor Jenny Durkan said she’d got the call from the board meeting in Georgia and the vote was unanimous.
The first season will be 2021-22, allowing time for renovating Key Arena for hockey.
The decision comes after years of negotiations and near misses with skittish investors.
But with the NHL Seattle group’s proposal and the city’s backing for a $750 million renovation of Key Arena, Seattle was almost guaranteed a green light.
Already more than 30,000 people have made season ticket deposits.
The NHL Seattle group had hoped Key Arena would be ready for the 2020-21 season, but the NHL expressed concerns about that.
The Seattle club is already working to put a 180,000-square-foot practice facility on the grounds of Northgate Mall.
Seattle is the 32nd NHL franchise.
Seattle has a long hockey history. The Seattle Metropolitans played in the old Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915 to 1924 and became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup — in 1917.
Seattle also has a junior hockey league, the Thunderbirds. The team moved to Seattle in 1977 but has played its games in Kent since 2009.
Paul Buxton stands outside Henry’s Tavern in South Lake Union early Tuesday, waiting for the official announcement.
Credit: KUOW photo/Casey Martin