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National Hockey League agrees to consider Seattle for new National Hockey League team

National Hockey League agrees to consider Seattle for new National Hockey League team

The Knights have been a great boost for the league, as they've started the season better than any expansion team in NHL history, and are vying for the top spot in the Pacific Conference with the L.A Kings.

One day after the NHL took a big step towards an expansion franchise in Seattle, commissioner Gary Bettman said the league's existing 31 teams will be allowed to spend more next season.

The process announced Thursday is similar to what the Las Vegas Golden Knights did ahead of being awarded an National Hockey League expansion team that began play this season.

"If the National Hockey League so chooses to expand, we will be all over them", said Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group, a Los Angeles company that is privately funding the renovations of KeyArena.

While it is expected that Seattle will pursue teams in both leagues, it has appeared that the city is closer to obtaining an NHL franchise than it is one in the National Basketball Association.

Seattle was always going to be a logical place for further expansion.

The NHL brought in a salary cap after the 2004-05 lockout, which stood at $39 million in its first season.

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The Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.

"For us, it's a natural", Linden said Friday after the board of governors meeting wrapped up in Florida.

The league has agreed to review the application, has set a $650 million expansion fee and now will gauge progress by the Seattle group in coming months before deciding whether to award a franchise to this market.

Barring issues with the season-ticket drive - or a snag with the KeyArena renovation plan - it appears an expansion team will be headed Seattle's way. If Seattle enters the league (the goal is for the 2020-21 season) the league is projecting the worth of a franchise to be 30 percent higher. The NHL still wants those markets to pony up, and is happy to use an incoming Seattle team as more immediate leverage against them. Vegas was granted a team one year later. The city recently was given approval for renovations of KeyArena, something that could also entice an National Basketball Association team if the timing is right. Adding a team in the west would help to resolve a geographical imbalance, as the National Hockey League now has just 10 teams west of the Mississippi River and has 16 clubs in its Eastern Conference, compared to 15 in the Western Conference.

"It's an intriguing possibility, but we've got homework to do". "So, it certainly shows there's a larger universe of options in getting this kind of infrastructure built perhaps than what we've been exposed to".

"And Mr. Leiweke and his group, we're going to make sure they meet their benchmarks to sell the season tickets and the like". "In fact, it's the first time I've seen an arena deal that has the private funder actually paying for the road and infrastructure improvements as well as making a donation to charity just cause", said Nenshi. "We want to work together".