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NHL gives Seattle the green light to submit an application for expansion

The league is working on adding a 32nd team into the mix.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship-UCLA vs Oregon State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has officially allowed the city of Seattle to submit an application for an NHL expansion team, according to league commissioner Gary Bettman. On Thursday, Bettman and the NHL Board of Governors gave Seattle the green light to start the application process.

The expansion fee for Seattle is set at $650 million. Previously, the city of Las Vegas paid $500 million for the Golden Knights expansion team that took the ice for the first time this season.

Earlier this week, the Seattle city council approved a $600 million renovation for KeyArena after the plans were submitted back in September. The renovations are expected to be finished by 2020, putting a benchmark on the approximate date for when we could see a hockey team in Seattle.

The news also means that the Bonderman group, who were key in helping Seattle get the KeyArena renovation, will now be able to conduct a season ticket sales drive in the same vein as Vegas when it started its bid for a team.

The NHL was specific in pointing out that Seattle is likely an expansion team, not a relocation like some had speculated. According to Bettman, no current NHL team is close to moving. Yes, even the Arizona Coyotes.

The announcement likely puts the nail in the coffin, for now anyway, on an expansion team to Quebec City, another prospective city looking for an NHL team. Previously, the NHL had the Quebec Nordiques before they moved to become the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. The news, however, doesn’t guarantee an NHL team in Seattle, though the process is a good start in bringing a 32nd team to the league.

There are questions, however, as to the fate of current NHL teams like the Coyotes, and Calgary Flames, to name a few. The Coyotes and Flames are currently dealing with arena issues, but Bettman has been adamant in the past about keeping them where they are.

On the other hand, the city of Houston has shown interest in acquiring a hockey team, but those talks in November were just in the “preliminary” stages.