Since we haven’t been on the the air, I know my puckhead faithful maybe or not be excited about Seattle being granted a Franchise. With the recent success with Vegas last year and them being strong again this season, how can you not be excited about the 32nd team in the league. The board of governors unanimously voted for Seattle’s approvement to start play in the 2021-22 season. There’s already a big hockey market in the area just in minor leagues so the fan base should and could be easily acquired.
David Bonderman leads the ownership group for the Seattle franchise, (which has yet to pick a name for the team) who is a private equity CEO. The ownership group payed $650 million for the expansion fee which a $150 million more than what Vegas payed, which to me is crap, but never the less the money wasn’t a problem and won’t be a problem moving forward. The Seattle team will play at the Seattle Center Arena formally known as the Keyarena where the Supersonics played (NBA). The ownership group has brokered a $800 million deal to renovate the arena in preparation for the 2021-22 season.
With all the financial hurdles cleared, Seattle can now focus on building a front office to build a respective team. Searching fora GM is the first and main focus for Seattle, and that won’t be easy and it never is. Vegas got lucky with McPhee because of the experience he has in the league and I feel Seattle wants to take a similar approach to that. Seattle will follow the same rules that Vegas did in selected their players for their team and will get into the draft lottery just like Vegas does. After the GM is picked and named the search for a coach will begin, selecting the right coach can be even trickier than picking a GM. The biggest aspect of this is that the GM and coach have to have the same ideas of how their team should be built, whether you want a fast team, or a defensive minded team, or do you build from the net out. It is expected that the GM and coach will be selected after the 2018-19 season
Creating a team from scratch is no easy task by any means, and it’s not about getting the best players, but getting the right ones. And not just getting the right players but making it work into a cohesive unit. It’s not like rebuilding a team that’s already there, it’s building from the ground up, forging nothing into something. So I believe that this may get even harder than it was for Vegas, talent is going to be even more spread out and you’ll be giving more opportunities to young guys to get a job in the league.
Seattle is a location in the northwest, instantly creating a rivalry with Vancouver who is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Seattle. It also evens out the number of teams in the divisions in the west. Arizona will be moved into the Central division while the Seattle team will play in the Pacific division. That whole west coast will now have teams from the north to the south of the western coast and should be pretty exciting when it comes into its own 3 years from now.
I for one love this game and the more teams means more hockey and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel that this should be the last expansion we are going to see for a long time. If a new franchise is to come it will be from relocation, but for now I’m happy to see the league at an even number of teams.