NEW YORK (AP) — Key stakeholders trying to bring a new NHL franchise to Seattle presented their case to a group of team owners on Tuesday, emerging after a two-hour private meeting with cautious optimism that the league will embrace their plan to begin play as early as the 2020-21 season.

Seattle Hockey Partners President and CEO Tod Leiweke, majority owner David Bonderman, Mayor Jenny Durkan and minority owners Jerry Bruckheimer and David Wright were among those who met with the NHL Board of Governors' executive committee.

It is now up to the league to decide the next steps — including a full board vote, possibly on Dec. 3, on whether to award Seattle the league's 32nd franchise.

The NHL had been at 30 teams since 2000 when it decided in 2016 to expand to Las Vegas. The Golden Knights began play a year ago and made a stirring run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.

That process began with a season-ticket drive the league approved in the winter of 2014 to see if Las Vegas would be a viable hockey market. Seattle sold 10,000 season-ticket deposits in 12 minutes, and team officials say they now have 32,000 as excitement builds for the return of a major professional winter sports team in the biggest U.S. market without one.

The ticket numbers, a plan to begin renovating downtown Seattle's KeyArena and a video showcasing the benefits of Seattle expansion were all part of the presentation at the league office.

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