OCtober 2, 2018 | 6:04pm ET



Seattle’s newly renovated arena projection


The City of Seattle is one step closer to becoming the 32nd team in the NHL following today’s meeting with the NHL.

Seattle Major Jenny S. Durkan joined the city’s “leadership team” of David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tod Leiweke, Tim Leiweke, David Wright, Francesca Bodie, and Len Potter as they met with the NHL to formally present their bid for an expansion franchise.

The NHL Executive Committee unanimously recommended to its Board of Governors to expand to Seattle.

“We have a great story to tell,” Tod Leiweke told reporters, as quoted by NHLSeattle.com. “We wanted to put our best foot forward and I feel like today we did...What always carries the day is the 32,000 depositors and the fans who believed in this.”

The NHL’s BOG is expected to formally vote on expanding to Seattle during their board meetings in Florida in early-December, upon which a 75% or higher vote in favour of expansion would result in Seattle being awarded a franchise.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman indicated there is still information to be gathered before the Board meets Dec. 3-4, but also added “everyone’s goal” is to have the Seattle team begin its first NHL season in 2020-21.

“The Committee agreed. Let’s do this,” Bettman said.

The news today gives Seattle’s group and its city council the green light to begin renovations to its current arena in order to house a team for the 2020-21 campaign. If the BOG votes positively in December, the NHL could have its next expansion draft in June 2020, of which the League’s 31st franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, would be exempt -- they’d also not share in the split of the $650 million expansion fee Seattle’s going to pay.

Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini believes Seattle “is imminent” and told reporters earlier today he feels an expansion team to the city is “eventually going to happen.”

When, not so much ‘if,’ Seattle enters the NHL, they are likely to join the Pacific Division, with one team, possibly the Arizona Coyotes, jumping to the Central Division.