Seattle Gets New NHL Team

Seattle_Thunderbirds_logo.svgIt’s official!  After years of speculation, at an NHL Board of Governors meeting on December 4th, 2018, Seattle’s expansion application was unanimously approved, awarding them the 32nd NHL team, and setting their time clock to enter the league for the 2021-22 NHL season.

Seattle lost their NBA franchise, the Supersonics, to Oklahoma City ten years ago, and this new NHL franchise hopes to fill a void left by the ‘Sonics departure. For hockey fans in Seattle and around the world, this is big news. NHL expansion has been quite rare in the past few decades. Even so, with the addition of the Seattle team, the NHL will tie NFL for the most professional teams in a major sports league. Most NHL-watchers believe further expansion is unlikely for many years.

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Seattle was recently awarded the next NHL franchise, 10years after it lost its NBA team, the SuperSonics.

Nobody can know if the yet-to-be-named Seattle team can replicate the first-year success attained by the Las Vegas Golden Knights, but Seattle will have all of the same expansion draft advantages that Vegas disd to build its team.

For a hockey-crazed school like Northwood, the news is a major topic of conversation among the hockey players. And while very few students, if any, dislike the idea of Seattle getting a team, opinions vary about how this decision will affect the NHL.  The Mirror spoke with players on Northwood’s Junior and Prep hockey teams to get their opinions.

The first big question that is raised regarding this expansion decision is whether or not Seattle should have been awarded the 32nd spot. Junior Team’s Jason Ziegler 19’ said “I think that Seattle is a perfect location for a team. It is a nice tourist city and a unique location for a hockey team.” Not everyone was so happy about Seattle getting the decision, though. Prep Team’s Trent Seger 20’ said, “Forget Seattle, they should have expanded to Québec City.  They need to bring back the Nordiques!”

The next big question raised by this expansion is since Seattle will be the 9th team in the Pacific region of the country, and the central region will only have seven teams, will this force the Arizona Coyotes to relocate to Houston, a city that is by far the largest of any U.S. or Canadian city without an NHL Team?  Junior Team’s Barrett Ott 19’ sees this as a real possibility, saying that while he never thought of the Coyotes ever relocating, it is true that the ‘Yotes struggle consistently each season, and that moving to a large, sports-filled city like Houston might be an opportunity for them to re-create a new Coyotes culture and give them a better chance of becoming a successful organization.  Prep Team’s Michael Leone 20’ doesn’t really see this as likely nor needed though, saying that, “Arizona will probably just switch from the Pacific Division to the Central Division when Seattle comes into the league.”

And the third big question is, since Seattle will become the 32nd team in the league, will other cities that want an NHL team — Quebec City, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and others ever get a team? Should the NHL consider further expansion in the future beyond the 32 teams, and if so where?  Prep Team’s Cisco DelliQuadri ‘20 said, “if there is enough support and funding to add teams, the NHL should add as many teams as possible.” The Prep Team’s Trevor Souza ‘19 agreed, saying that he thinks the NHL should at least expand by 4 more teams to add cities like Québec City that have wanted an NHL team for a long time.

Will the NHL ever expand beyond Seattle?  No one knows for sure. But for right now, we all should just be happy for what we have: an NHL city that in just a few short years will be ready to take on the rest of the NHL in pursuit of a Stanley Cup.  And we here at The Mirror wish this future organization nothing but luck, success, and hope that they, like many other NHL cities, will continue to grow the great sport of ice hockey in the United States, Canada, and in the rest of the world.

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