December 4, 2018 8:49 am
Updated: December 4, 2018 2:00 pm

NHL expected to vote ‘yes’ on Seattle expansion for 2021-22 season

WATCH ABOVE: NHL approves expansion to Seattle for 2021-22 season


UPDATE: The NHL has voted to expand the league with a team in Seattle in the 2021-22 season

The National Hockey League Board of Governors is expected to approve expansion to Seattle, with the league’s 32nd team beginning play in the 2021-22 season.

A three-quarters vote of the current 31 owners is needed to confirm Seattle as the league’s newest franchise.

READ MORE: Seattle NHL bid takes 33K season ticket deposits in under 48 hours, waitlist started for shutout fans

The nine-member executive committee that heard Seattle’s presentation in October voted unanimously to move the matter to the full board, which is meeting in Georgia. The vote is expected on Tuesday.

In this April 11, 2018, file photo, part-owners Jerry Bruckheimer, left, and David Bonderman pose with Tod Leiweke and a hockey stick during a news conference naming Leiweke as the president and CEO for a prospective NHL expansion team in Seattle.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

READ MORE: Dave Tippett joins NHL Seattle expansion group as senior adviser

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Seattle Hockey Partners will pay NHL owners $650 million to join. The group led by majority owner David Bonderman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and president and CEO Tod Leiweke had been hoping for play to begin in 2020.

However, uncertainty over completing KeyArena renovations in time means Seattle will have to wait another year for the return of a major winter sports team.

WATCH BELOW: Seattle Hockey Partners video on KeyArena renovations. 

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A team in Seattle balances the Eastern and Western Conferences at 16 teams apiece, but also requires realignment to even out the Central and Pacific Divisions. Many expect the Arizona Coyotes to be moved to the Central Division in 2021 when Seattle enters the league.

READ MORE: An NHL team in Seattle just became a distinct possibility, as per the commissioner

The NHL is dealing with some uncertain situations as it prepares to finalize the Seattle expansion.

The Ottawa Senators’ downtown arena project is in danger of falling apart, and Arizona Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway is looking for a partner as he tries to secure a long-term home in the desert.

Meanwhile, the league would like to begin making plans for a 2020 World Cup of Hockey but has no guarantee of labour peace that would allow such a tournament to take place.

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Commissioner Gary Bettman updated the Board of Governors on those topics Monday.

Bettman said the salary cap is projected to go up to roughly $83 million next season, up from the current $79.5 million limit.

That’s a sign revenues are continuing to rise after the success of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

© 2018 The Associated Press

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