NHL Seattle is hosting an NHL Opening Day Watch Party 4-10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Queen Anne Beerhall, 203 W. Thomas St. 

Seattle hockey fans are one step closer to getting their own NHL team.

The NHL’s executive committee unanimously voted 9-0 to move forward with Seattle’s bid for an NHL expansion franchise following a meeting with representatives in New York on Tuesday. 

An NHL Seattle stakeholder group made the pitch, which included Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Oak View Group CEO Ted Leiweke, his brother and Seattle Hockey CEO Tod Leiweke, and fellow partners David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

“The Executive Committee met this morning with the representatives of the potential Seattle expansion franchise. They did an excellent job supporting the application and presenting a case for Seattle,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

“The conclusion and the recommendation of the Executive Committee, which was presented to the Board of Governors, was to proceed with the application.

“The goal would be to finalize any open details, create a formal report and have this ready for consideration and potential approval at the December Board meeting.”

Bettman told assembled media in New York that the goal was for Seattle to have an NHL team by the 2020-21 season, though he added that the start date would depend on renovations to Seattle’s KeyArena remaining on schedule. That work is expected to start later this month and take two years to complete.

The appetite for professional hockey in Seattle appears strong. In March, a season-ticket drive held by the Oak View Group to determine fan interest reached its 10,000-deposit goal within 12 minutes, eventually capping at 33,000 deposits, with the group opening a fan waitlist.

A full vote with the NHL board of governors is expected to take place in December. A three-quarter approval is needed for Seattle to be awarded an expansion franchise. If approved, the Seattle franchise would be the NHL’s 32nd team.