The NHL just announced today that there will be a brand new hockey team and it's coming to a city very close to Canada. Seattle, which is only a three-hour drive from Vancouver, will be home to the newest NHL team. It's rare that the hockey league introduces a new team, so this is a big deal for all hockey fans.
The NHL Board of Governors unanimously voted this morning to add Seattle as the 32nd team in the league. The team, which is still in need of a name, is set to start playing in 2021. Seattle has not had a major winter sports team since the NBA SuperSonics ten years ago in 2008 and locals could not be excited.
Although the new team is American, it's still going to be a big deal for Canadians. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman even talked about how it will especially impact Vancouverites. "Expanding to Seattle makes the National Hockey League more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant," he said.
"A team in Seattle evens the number of teams in our two conferences, brings our geographic footprint into greater equilibrium and creates instant new rivalries out west, particularly between Seattle and Vancouver."
Bettman isn't the only sports official who thinks that there will be an increased rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and the new Seattle team. "Seattle coming into the NHL is something that I think would be one of the most intense rivalries down the road in the NHL: call it the battle of the I-5," Randip Janda, a Vancouver-based host with sports broadcaster Sportsnet 650, told CBC News.
Now that there will two teams in the same region and within a relatively short drive, this is good news for hockey and its fans, according to CBC News.
Vancouverites also could become supporters of the new Seattle team, CBC News reported. It's only a short drive to watch them play, and a new team could bring some interesting, novel dynamics on the ice. Many Canadians already drive down to Seattle to watch MLB games and cheer on the Mariners, so it would make sense that the new team would attract hockey fans to their games, especially since hockey is a bigger sport in Canada than baseball.
Not to mention, the Vancouver Canucks has not been the most popular among residents lately and has been losing ground in its fan base so the new team might be what Vancouverites need. Canucks tickets have even become much cheaper in recent years.
Not only will this bring increased competition to Vancouver, but also Calgary and Edmonton. With the introduction of the Seattle NHL team, the NHL will rearrange its Western divisions in 2021, meaning Seattle will play the Pacific and teams such as Vancouver and Calgary, according to CTV News.