The Seattle Kraken officially became part of the NHL on Friday as the league’s 32nd team. The announcement came after the team paid the final instalment of its $650 million expansion fee.
“On behalf of the Board of Governors, I am delighted to officially welcome the Seattle Kraken to the NHL as our 32nd Member Club,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a release. “Congratulations to David Bonderman, the Bonderman Family, their partners, the entire Seattle Kraken organization, the city of Seattle and Kraken fans as the Club continues on its exciting journey towards puck drop in October.”
The Kraken are now free to sign and trade for players, as well as participate in league meetings and receive internal NHL memos, according to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. The team will participate in an expansion draft on July 21 where every team except for the Vegas Golden Knights will lose a player to Seattle.
The NHL initially awarded a franchise to Seattle in December of 2018 and the team will open the 2021-22 season at the renovated Climate Pledge Arena.
“Today is another momentous day on the journey to puck drop. I would like to thank Gary Bettman and the NHL for welcoming us to the league,” David Bonderman, Seattle Kraken majority owner, said in a statement. “We have an incredible few months ahead of us as we prepare to welcome our inaugural players and finally take to the ice at Climate Pledge Arena.”