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  • The Latest: NHL approves Seattle expansion for '21-22 season

, FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2018, file photo, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, right, high-five's Washington Wild hockey team wing Jaina Goscinski, 11, as Tod Leiweke, CEO of NHL Seattle, looks on during a news conference in Seattle. The NHL Board of Governors is meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Sea Island, Ga., to give final approval to Seattle's bid to add the league's 32nd team. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

04 of December 2018 16:57:55

SEA ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The Latest from the National Hockey League's Board of Governors meeting, where expansion to Seattle was on the agenda. (all times Eastern):

11:55 a.m.

The NHL Board of Governors has voted unanimously to approve expansion to Seattle.

Twenty-four of 31 votes were needed to award the league's 32nd franchise to the Emerald City. Commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to make the formal announcement at noon Eastern.

Play is expected to begin in 2021, depending on the progress of arena renovations for Seattle's first major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left town in 2008.

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10:30 a.m.

The NHL Board of Governors is meeting to give final approval to Seattle's bid to add the league's 32nd team. Play would be expected to begin in the 2021-22 season.

Representatives of Seattle Hockey Partners, including majority owner David Bonderman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and president and CEO Tod Leiweke are at the seaside Georgia resort of Sea Island.

A three-quarters vote of the current 31 owners is needed to confirm Seattle as the league's newest franchise. The nine-member executive committee that heard Seattle's presentation in October voted unanimously to move the matter to the full board.

If Seattle is approved as expected, a realignment plan would likely move the Arizona Coyotes from the Pacific into the Central Division in the new 16-team Western Conference.

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6 a.m.

The NHL Board of Governors is expected to approve expansion to Seattle, with the league's 32nd team beginning play in the 2021-22 season.

A three-quarters vote of the current 31 owners is needed to confirm Seattle as the league's newest franchise. The nine-member executive committee that heard Seattle's presentation in October voted unanimously to move the matter to the full board, which is meeting in Georgia. The vote is expected on Tuesday.

Seattle Hockey Partners will pay NHL owners $650 million to join. The group led by majority owner David Bonderman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and president and CEO Tod Leiweke had been hoping for play to begin in 2020, but uncertainty over completing arena renovations in time means Seattle will have to wait another year for the return of a major winter sports team.

A team in Seattle balances the Eastern and Western Conferences at 16 teams apiece, but also requires realignment to even out the Central and Pacific Divisions. Many expect the Arizona Coyotes to be moved to the Central Division in 2021 when Seattle enters the league.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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