SEA ISLAND, Ga. -- The NHL's Board of Governors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the expansion application from the NHL Seattle group to bring the yet-to-be named team into the League for the start of the 2021-22 season.
The Board of Governors also approved a realignment plan that will move the Arizona Coyotes into the Central Division, making way for Seattle to play in the Pacific Division.
There are currently eight teams in the Pacific Division and seven in the Central Division; The Coyotes will remain in the Pacific until the 2021-22 season.
"We are happy to welcome Seattle as the NHL's 32nd franchise as the NHL continues to grow the game of hockey throughout North America," Coyotes President and CEO Ahron Cohen said in a statement. "We will work with the League to ensure a smooth transition into the Central Division in time for the 2021-22 season, and we appreciate the League's willingness to assist with logistics and scheduling to make travel as easy as possible between our home in Phoenix and the other Central destinations.
"Our fans should take comfort in knowing they will continue to see us play our Pacific Division rivals multiple times a year, including squaring off with Vegas for desert bragging rights, while also getting to see new rivalries with some legacy franchises. Regardless of what division we are in, our goals remain the same: win on the ice against whomever they put in front of us on the schedule, build Coyotes fandom throughout the entire State of Arizona, and positively impact our Arizona community."
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