With team secured, Seattle begins work on arena – ESPN

9:59 PM ET

ESPN News Services

SEATTLE — Wednesday’s celebration outside the building that Seattle’s new NHL team will eventually call home came with all the formality of a groundbreaking event, complete with the principals taking turns giving remarks and ceremonially shoveling dirt.

It also came with a new price tag even higher than what was stated a day earlier when Seattle was awarded the NHL’s 32nd franchise.

Seattle has been granted an expansion team for the 2021-22 NHL season. The team will play at a renovated KeyArena and compete in the league’s Pacific Division.

When will they start playing? What will they be called? How is the NHL going to realign? We answer the key questions after the big announcement.

Now that the NHL is headed to Seattle, our readers offer their best ideas on everything from names to uniform designs.

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The cost now is $850 million for the new arena at Seattle Center, according to Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, with construction expected to get started almost immediately. That’s an increase of $200 million from the initial projections for the privately financed project, but the principals involved believe the increased investment is part of making the new building one of the top arenas in the country.

The project will gut the current interior of the city’s KeyArena, which opened with the World’s Fair in 1962, leaving only the arena’s iconic roof and creating an entirely new facility beneath it. Over the years, the arena, which was renovated numerous times, has been home to the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

“We never value engineered. That to me was an amazing commitment on behalf of ownership,” Leiweke said. “We did not do any value ownership

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