Skip to Main Content
The Official Site of the Seattle Kraken

Seattle News

Year of Milestones

The first official year of NHL Seattle was one of leadership moves, arena progress and, yes, scouting of players who might play here in 2021

by Bob Condor / @NHLSeattle_ /

NHL Approves Seattle Expansion

NHL unanimously approves Seattle's bid for Expansion

The NHL Board of Governors officially approves Seattle's expansion bid for 2021-22 season

  • 00:58 •

Everyone pining for the 2021 puck drop for NHL Seattle shares the same thought: Do we really have to wait that long? Well, yes and no. Yes, the calendar can't be edited down. But, it might go faster than we think. 

Consider that one year ago today, Dec. 4, 2018, the National Hockey League awarded Seattle its 32nd franchise. There was supreme joy and lots of toasts. Stick taps all around. It seems like yesterday. And so we're celebrating all over again with a look back on what has been accomplished in the last 365 days. 

DEC. 4, 2018 
In a meeting at Sea Island, GA, the National Hockey League's Board of Governors votes unanimously to approve Seattle as the 32nd NHL Franchise for the 2021-22 season. "Today is an exciting and historic day for our League as we expand to one of North America's most innovative, beautiful and fastest-growing cities," says NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "We are thrilled that Seattle, a city with a proud hockey history, that includes being the home for the first American team ever to win the Stanley Cup, is finally joining the NHL."


DEC 5, 2018 
Nothing like getting things started ASAP. A day after official word from the NHL, Oak View Group and NHL Seattle break ground on the New Arena at Seattle Center, spaded shovels turning over a new era in Seattle sports and entertainment. Governor Jay Inslee, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle City Council members joined with community leaders, OVG-Seattle's Tim Leiweke and NHL Seattle to do the honors.

DEC. 18, 2018 
NHL Seattle and KEXP announces today that KEXP, the independent Seattle-based public broadcaster and arts organization, will lead curation of the in-arena music experience for Seattle's National Hockey League franchise that will begin play in the fall of 2021.


FEB. 26, 2019
NHL Seattle/OVG and Pacific Science Center will be neighbors once the New Arena at Seattle Center is ready for occupancy. Both organizations decide to get a head start, hosting a "Science of Sports & Entertainment" series that debuts Feb. 26 with a focus on the design and engineering challenges associated with construction of the New Arena. 


MARCH 17, 2019 
Fans get a first look inside the construction under the roof at the New Arena at Seattle Center. Construction executive Ken Johnsen begins his career as a video star and unofficial tour guide for the New Arena. 

Video: Take a first look inside at new arena construction

APRIL 24, 2019
Guyle Fielder, the greatest player in Seattle pro hockey history and a legendary player in the Western Hockey League, returns to town to be honored by the NHL Seattle franchise. The celebration includes a dedicated locker of Guyle's uniform and gear that is currently on display at the team's Preview Center and eventually at the New Arena. 

Video: NHL Seattle Honors Guyle Fielder with Team Award

MAY 28, 2019
Statement from NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke on Dave Tippett, the former Seattle senior hockey adviser who accepted the head coaching position for the NHL's Edmonton Oilers: 

"As one of our first hires, Dave Tippett has been instrumental in forming the blueprint for our hockey operations in Seattle. Coaching is his passion and this is a great opportunity for Dave to return to the bench. Dave will always be a great friend to our organization. We wish him well in Edmonton." Quick update: Tip's team is in first place in the NHL's Pacific Division. 

JUNE 21, 2019
NHL CEO Tod Leiweke and principal owner Jerry Bruckheimer attend the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver. They, of course, get asked about the team name. "We want to get it right," Leiweke says. "Part of it is, the longer we're going as an enterprise, the more we know what we stand for and the more we know what we don't stand for." Bruckheimer discusses the New Arena at Seattle Center: "We're excited to show this building to the world, because it's really spectacular. We're sitting on something that you haven't seen yet, but I'm really proud of it and can't wait for everybody to see it."


JUNE 23, 2019
OVG and NHL Seattle announce Symetra Life Insurance Company as the first founding partner and sponsor of the National Hockey League's 32nd franchise, the New Arena at Seattle Center and Northgate Ice Centre.  

JULY 1, 2019
NHL Seattle hires Alexandra Mandrycky as director of hockey administration. Her analytics work will play a major role in shaping everything from the opening night roster for the 2021-22 season to who'll be the first general manager.


JULY 17, 2019
NHL Seattle names Ron Francis as the team's first general manager, effective immediately. 

A two-time Stanley Cup winner, Francis will oversee all of the club's hockey operations. This includes player personnel, coaching staff, amateur and pro scouting, player development, analytics, sports science and AHL minor league operations. 

Video: RECAP: New Seattle GM Ron Francis arrives to fanfare

JULY 24, 2019
OVG and NHL Seattle announce Virginia Mason Health System as a founding partner and official health care provider of the National Hockey League's 32nd franchise. Virginia Mason reveals its plans for an outpatient medical facility at NHL Seattle's Northgate Ice Centre that will be open to the public, in addition to serving the team.

SEPT. 3, 2019
NHL Seattle names Ricky Olczyk as its assistant general manager, effective immediately.Olczyk joins NHL Seattle from the Toronto Maple Leafs where he was a pro scout for the 2018-19 season. He previously spent four seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes as an assistant general manager alongside NHL Seattle General Manager Ron Francis. 


SEPT. 24, 2019
General manager Ron Francis announces five pro scouts will join the fold to begin the process of evaluating which players to select in the 2021 Expansion Draft. The group includes U.S. Olympic gold medalist Cammie Granato, two-time Stanley Cup winner Ulf Samuelsson, 16-season NHL player and four-year NHL assistant coach Stu Barnes, long-time NHL scout Dave Hunter and expert amateur evaluator John Goodwin. Granato is the NHL's first female pro scout

SEPT. 30, 2019
Following in the skate strides of Seattle, Palm Springs becomes the 32nd franchise in the American Hockey League beginning with the 2021-22 season. The AHL Board of Governors votes unanimously to approve the expansion application of NHL Seattle and Oak View Group to place its primary development affiliate in the renowned southern California desert town. 

"On behalf of the AHL's Board of Governors, I am thrilled to welcome the NHL Seattle ownership team and the city of Palm Springs as the league's 32nd franchise," said David Andrews, AHL president and CEO. "Palm Springs has all the makings of an outstanding hockey market and will further strengthen the growing base of our sport in California."

Video: AHL Awards Palm Springs Franchise to NHL Seattle

OCT. 30, 2019
On one of those fall days too beautiful to ignore, staffers of Oak View Group and NHL Seattle gather Wednesday with dignitaries of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribal Council and Muckleshoot Casino to mark the occasion of a new partnership. NHL Seattle announces Muckleshoot Indian Tribe's Muckleshoot Casino as an official partner and sponsor. The tribe celebrates the event with a blessing song performed at the site of the New Arena at Seattle Center. Three Muckleshoot Tribe members performed "Rosie's Song," composed by a living elder, Rosie Anderson, that expresses happiness and strength in the Southern Lushootseed language. 

The seat selection process for NHL Seattle's inaugural season gets underway with club seat depositors. In order of priority number, hundreds of club seat depositors visit the NHL Seattle Preview Center to select their seats. Upon completion of the club seat selection, the process will move to general seat deposit holders in Spring 2020. 


Whew! That's a lot to get excited about. Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey and here's to another successful 365 days!

View More