Wanna win a bar bet? Challenge that lug next to you to name the first American team to win the Stanley Cup. It’s not Boston, Detroit or Chicago but the Seattle Metropolitans in 1917. Now the NHL is coming back to the Pacific Northwest.
The league’s has board of governors voted unanimously to award its 32nd franchise to Washington state’s largest city. The yet-to-be-named team will begin play in fall 2021, joining the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and others in the Pacific Division. The Arizona Coyotes will move to the Western Conference’s Central Division to make room for the new team.
The Seattle franchise will pay a $650 million expansion fee to be distributed in equal shares among 30 of the NHL’s presently excluding 2017 expansion club — and soon-to-be division rival — the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Today is an exciting and historic day for our League as we expand to one of North America’s most innovative, beautiful and fastest-growing cities,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. “And we are thrilled that Seattle, a city with a proud hockey history that includes being the home for the first American team ever to win the Stanley Cup, is finally joining the NHL.”
The Seattle Times in October published results of a readers poll to name the franchise, with Sockeyes leading the way, followed by the Totems, Metropolitans, Steelheads and Kraken.
Other details about the Seattle expansion franchise – including a timeline for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, percentages for the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery and the 2021-22 schedule matrix – are TBA.
Here is a look at the NHL realignment to make room for the Seattle franchise, for which Deadliner commenters are invited to offer a name: