The NHL officially announced that the Vegas Golden Knights completed the expansion process Wednesday and is an operating member of the NHL as its 31st team.
"On behalf of the Board of Governors, I am delighted to officially welcome the Vegas Golden Knights to the NHL," Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement released Wednesday. "Congratulations to Bill Foley, the Foley family, the Maloof family, the city of Las Vegas and the Golden Knights' fans as the team embarks on its exciting journey."
The final step? The last payment of the $500 million expansion fee cleared.
General manager George McPhee can officially talk trades for fellow GMs and sign players to contracts.
"Today we reached another significant milestone in our team's history -- the Vegas Golden Knights are officially a National Hockey League franchise," Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley said in a statement released by the team. "It is an incredibly exciting day for our organization and we would not be here without the continued support from our fans.
"In February of 2015 we started our season ticket drive. We asked Las Vegans to put ticket deposits down for a team that didn't exist in an arena that hadn't been built and they came through in a big way. The progress we have made together in these last two short years is remarkable. Now that we are official, we look forward to continuing this momentum and building a team that our fans and our community will be proud of."
An expansion draft will be held June 21 and Vegas will debut for the 2017-18 season.