National Hockey League agrees to accept expansion team application from Seattle

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A Seattle ownership group has been authorized to file an application for an NHL expansion team, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday from Manalapan, Fla., where the league's board of governors are meeting.

Bettman said the expansion fee has been set at $650 million for Seattle, which would become the league's 32nd team, if approved. "This is a process that we go through". The Vegas Golden Knights began operations this season and are in the playoff chase.

There's no guarantee that Seattle will land a professional hockey team, but it's now up to sports fans in the rapidly growing city to demonstrate that they'd be willing to support a team - beyond the Seahawks or the Mariners - with their season-ticket dollars.

Seattle plans to have a new arena ready by 2020 with the intent of luring National Hockey League and NBA teams as anchor tenants. A team in Seattle would even it at 16 in each conference.

Monday, Seattle City Council approved to do a $600 million renovation on Key Arena in a 7-1 vote.

Seattle was always going to be a logical place for further expansion.

Also announced Thursday, the Carolina Hurricanes have sold a majority stake in the franchise to Dallas billionaire Tom Dundon.

Around the league: Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy said he will donate his brain to help with head-trauma research, becoming the first active NHL player to make such a pledge.

KeyArena was home to the NBA's SuperSonics for 33 of the franchise's 41 years in Seattle before Clay Bennett's investment group bought the team from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in 2006 and moved the team to Oklahoma City in 2008.

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