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Photo Credit: BRIAN KENT / PNG

Vancouver Canucks officially granted NHL franchise today in 1970

Happy birthday to the Vancouver Canucks!

Today in 1970, the Canucks were officially granted their NHL franchise for an expansion fee of $6-million. The team was already welcomed, along with Buffalo, the December prior, but things were made official on May 22, 1970.

With the hopes of attracting a franchise to the city, Vancouver began the construction of an arena, the Pacific Coliseum, in 1966. A Vancouver group led by former mayor Fred Hume tried to bring a club to the city in 1967, but the league rejected that application.

The Oakland Seals, who were brought in during the ’67 expansion, were struggling and were nearly moved to Vancouver, but once again the league stepped in to veto that.

But another group led by Tom Scallen purchased the minor-pro Western Hockey League Vancouver Canucks and brought them into the NHL. That $6-million expansion fee the league needed was a whopping three times that of the cost in the 1967 expansion.

Those WHL Canucks brought six players — John Arbour, George Gardner, Len Lunde, Marc Reaume, Ted Taylor and Murray Hall — with the rest of the club built through the expansion draft.

In that draft, Vancouver brought in future stables Gary Doak, Orland Kurtenbach and Pat Quinn as they used their first every entry draft selection on Dale Tallon.

The Canucks played their first NHL game on Oct. 9, 1970 against the LA Kings, a match they lost 3-1.

On Twitter: @zjlaing