December 5, 2018 7:00 am

Rick Zamperin: Seattle is more than deserving of an NHL franchise

New Seattle hockey franchise majority owner David Bonderman, right, steps up to the podium after the National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, left, named Seattle as the league's 32nd franchise, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Sea Island, Ga.

AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton
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Hey Seattle, welcome to the National Hockey League.

By a vote of 31-0, the NHL’s Board of Governors has approved an expansion franchise in The Emerald City to begin play in the 2021-22 season.

Don’t be at all surprised that the vote was unanimous, because the owners are going to benefit from Seattle’s $650 million expansion fee. That’s $150 million more than what the Vegas Golden Knights had to fork over to enter the league last season.

Seattle’s ownership group is led by private equity CEO David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The yet-to-be named franchise will play out of the soon-to-be renovated KeyArena, the former home of the NBA’s Supersonics.

The addition of the Seattle whatevers will bring the NHL to an even 32 teams, giving the league four divisions of eight teams each. Seattle will be placed in the Pacific Division, while the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central.

There is a sour note for Seattle hockey fans, though. The NHL could be hit by another labour dispute in September 2020, and God forbid it wipes out the entire season before Seattle begins play.

That discussion is for another day, and for Seattle hockey fans, let’s hope that scenario doesn’t come to pass.

READ MORE: NHL will open Seattle franchise in 2021

Seattle has proven to be a big league city (Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, and the former Supersonics) and it’s more than deserving of an NHL franchise. And, of course, the billions of dollars the team is going to inject into the league doesn’t hurt either.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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