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Seattle expansion has NHL community excited

Coaches, players around League chime in on 32nd franchise

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NHL Tonight: Seattle owners

Tod Leiweke and David Bonderman on Seattle team

The owners of the new Seattle franchise, Tod Leiweke and David Bonderman, talk about the process of becoming the League's 32nd franchise

  • 03:18 •

Here's what NHL players and coaches were saying Tuesday in reaction to Seattle being awarded a franchise to become the League's 32nd team, beginning play in 2021-22:

"It's great. I'm curious. I always love seeing new jerseys. I don't know, I love the logo. I love that stuff. I can't wait to see what they do. That's the thing I'm most excited for." -- Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt

"One of the best cities in the world. The waterfront. All the seafood, the restaurants … Spectacular scene, spectacular city. This is a home run for the NHL." -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, former coach of Spokane of the Western Hockey League

"I mean, it's exciting. You saw what happened in Vegas last year and the season [the Golden Knights] had and the excitement they brought to that city. I think a bunch of people want to see that happen in Seattle and see that excitement. I think that would be a pretty cool place to play. … I think it's good for the League." -- Winnipeg Jets center Bryan Little

"There would be a rivalry there [with the Vancouver Canucks] for sure. It's so close, everyone knows that. A lot of Vancouverites go down and watch the Seahawks and the Mariners play. Seattle's an awesome city. I think guys will be really excited for a team to be in there and I think it will be quite the rivalry. … Seattle's an awesome sports town. I think a lot of people don't really know that because there is no NHL team there but their junior team, they always [had] good crowds. Their football team is known for having one of the best crowds in the League, their baseball team does really well, their soccer team is the same way. I think it's an awesome sports city and they'd embrace hockey just like they have the other sports." -- Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher, who played with Vancouver of the WHL

"I think it's exciting. The more teams you get into a certain area, the more rivalries you can possibly create. Seattle's a great city, beautiful there right on the ocean. So I think it's probably nice for those teams in the Pacific [Division] where they can add another team right there where it shortens their travel a little bit." -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith

"I think it's great. You saw what happened with Vegas when they came in. Seattle's another great city, I think a great market that's going to do well for the League. It's another exciting place for guys to travel and play in. … There's so many good players out there, so many talented players that don't get a shot sometimes that probably could play. Obviously that opportunity adds a few spots for guys. Look at Vegas. They had an expansion draft and got all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. That just shows you the depth that's out there in this league. Guys can come in and play different roles in different situations and when they situation's right, guys can flourish. I think it's pretty cool to see that stuff." -- St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak

"Home run. Home run. Great sports town. You look at the Mariners, you look at the Seahawks. You look at the history they've had in the WPHL in the old Western Pro Hockey League, it's going to be an absolute home run." -- Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters, former coach of Spokane (WHL)

"I've never been there. I've heard it's a great city. It's not too far from the border, so I'm sure people will be excited, from Canada, to be able to go there as well. … From watching football, it looks like they get pretty good crowds." -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby

"It is an underrated hockey area. The Western League presence is large and a lot of hockey fans out there. I'm sure it'll be a success. … [It's] nice to have another team in the League and it's good for a lot of people, an extra opportunity. Seattle [is] a great market." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton, who played for Prince Albert (WHL)

"I think it's great. Obviously, with another expansion team coming in a couple years' time, I think it's great news for the League. Obviously, they'll try to do a lot of what we did last year with expansion. I think they're pretty excited. It's great news for players, great news for coaches and people that work in the League." -- Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant

"I think it's a really exciting day for the people in Seattle, an exciting day for the National Hockey League. It evens out the conferences, evens out the division. It's a new team that's going to be in the Pacific Division. All in all, really exciting day for the League. … I think Seattle is a really good hockey town. It's a beautiful city, growing city, geographically a really good fit for the NHL. I think there's really strong ownership … all of those things make it a good addition to our league." -- Golden Knights assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon

"It's going to be exciting. Two teams that are, you know, two hours away from each other. I think it will be a great rivalry, great for the League." -- Los Angeles Kings forward Brendan Leipsic

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