The National Hockey League Board of Governors announced today that Seattle has been awarded an NHL franchise, becoming Vancouver’s closest regional rival.

Aquilini Group Managing Director Francesco Aquilini provided the following statement on behalf of Canucks Sports and Entertainment:

“Today is an exciting day for the NHL and especially hockey fans here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Francesco Aquilini, Managing Director of the Aquilini Group. “Congratulations to David Bonderman, Tod Leiweke, the NHL Seattle group, the City of Seattle and everyone involved in making today a reality. Seattle is a great sports city and we can’t wait to ignite a true regional rivalry west of the Rockies for Canucks fans. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”