VICTORIA — A new NHL franchise will be built in Vancouver, the Canadian city which has long had an NHL franchise but which has never hosted a team.
The Canucks, who played their first season in the city in the 1970s, announced Tuesday that the team will open its first home game in 2018.
Vancouver’s hockey fans and the NHL were both impressed with how quickly Vancouver’s mayor, Joe Cressy, got the NHL to sign a lease with the city.
Cressy said the NHL has been a good partner in the region.
“It was very encouraging that the NHL was so willing to work with the Mayor’s office on the lease,” Cress, a former Canadian Prime Minister, told The Associated Press.
And Cressys approval has been welcomed by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who said he is thrilled to see Vancouver moving to host an NHL team.
“It’s an exciting day for the league and a very positive sign for our community and our hockey fans,” Bettman said.
“It’s going to be a tremendous thing for the game in the greater Vancouver area.”
The NHL announced the move to the city Monday.
The Canucks are the latest Canadian franchise to move to Vancouver, joining the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
The league has long been a destination for American sports franchises.
A number of Canadian teams have relocated to the U.S. over the years.
Last year, Vancouver hosted the Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Bruins and Los Angeles Sharks.
Cressys predecessor as Vancouver mayor, Rob Ford, also has a NHL franchise.