National Hockey League gives Seattle green light to apply for franchise

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The NHL board of governors has agreed to allow Seattle to begin its preliminary motions to gauge if it is a viable location - starting with an application for expansion and then a season-ticket drive, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in Florida. The expansion team in Seattle will cost $650 million, while Vegas was $500 million.

There's no guarantee that Seattle will land a professional hockey team, but it's now up to sports fans in the rapidly growing city to demonstrate that they'd be willing to support a team - beyond the Seahawks or the Mariners - with their season-ticket dollars.

Also announced Thursday, the Carolina Hurricanes have sold a majority stake in the franchise to Dallas billionaire Tom Dundon.

Although Seattle has never had an NHL team, the Seattle Metropolitans, who played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915-24, won the Stanley Cup in 1917, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in a best-of-5 series.

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After the news that the Seattle City Council had approved the renovation plan to KeyArena, Seattle immediately became the hottest free agent of all the cities on the market.

A new arena is now being built in the city with the hope of attracting National Hockey League and NBA teams as its first occupants.

OVG CEO Tim Leiweke says his group will work to get a team to join the WNBA's Seattle Storm at KeyArena. "We have agreed as a league to take and consider an expansion application and to let them run in the next few months a season-ticket drive".

The NHL is focused on evening out the conferences to 16 teams each before expanding more teams in the East.

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