San Jose Sharks will have new, Seattle-based divisional foe in 2021-22

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /

It was announced on Tuesday that an expansion team located in Seattle will be added to the Pacific Division ahead of the 2021-2022 NHL season, joining the San Jose Sharks.

The Pacific Division of the NHL will be undergoing some renovations in 2021. The San Jose Sharks will have a new rival from a currently unnamed Seattle-based hockey team.

After a unanimous vote by the board, a 32nd NHL team will be added to the league. Since this new Seattle team will be in the Pacific Division, this means the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Cental Division prior to the start of the 2021-22 season.

Just last year, the Vegas Golden Knights entered the NHL, and encountered tremendous success. In their first season as a franchise, they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

In the end, they were defeated by the Washington Capitals, who obtained their first Stanley Cup. Yet, it can not be ignored that a brand new team made it all the way to the Finals in their first year. Heck, even the city of Las Vegas wanted to give the team a parade for losing, but ultimately the Knights respectfully declined.

According to ESPN, when the Golden Knights were announced as an expansion team, they obtained 5,000 season ticket holders in the first two days. Seattle’s ownership claims they reached 25,000 deposits in one hour. This could make Seattle even more of a sports town to add an NHL team in addition to their Mariners, Seahawks, and Sounders.

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When the Golden Knights were added to the Pacific Division last season, they became an immediate rival of the Sharks. Whereas both teams got to the playoffs, the Golden Knights finished 1st in the Pacific Division and the Sharks finished 3rd.

As of right now in the 2018-19 season, the Sharks are in 3rd place and the Golden Knights are in 4th. In a couple years, both teams will have a new expansion team to worry about. If Seattle’s team immediately boasts the popularity on and off the ice that the Golden Knights enjoyed last year, they will obviously be a big threat to the Pacific Division as a whole.

Seattle’s expansion team will play at KeyArena, former home of the Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder).

According to NBC Sports Bay Area, one Sharks player is incredibly excited about this news. Defenseman Brenden Dillon played for the Seattle Thunderbirds, a team from a major junior hockey league called the Western Hockey League, whose players range from ages 16-21.

"“Sports are alive and well up there in the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “Really cool arena, right in the downtown heart of things, right by the Space Needle. Hopefully they have some success just like Vegas did and build that fanbase, it’s going to be a great place to play hockey.”"

Of course it will be a challenge for the Sharks having another new expansion team join their division. The fact that hockey is reaching more places in the country is especially exciting, though. Now that two more teams have been added to the league, it is not likely that they will add another in the near future. When they do decide to expand again, it will most likely be in Houston. There have even been rumors of expanding the league into Europe.

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No one knows exactly how far the NHL will reach to in the future, but we do know that the Sharks will be in San Jose, still on the hunt for their first Stanley Cup.