In 1966, the NHL announced that six expansion teams would be added as a new division for the 1967–68 season, officially because of a general desire to expand the league to new markets, but also to squelch the Western Hockey League's threat to turn into a major league. The San Francisco Seals were one such team from the WHL. The NHL awarded an expansion team to Barry Van Gerbig for the San Francisco Bay area. Van Gerbig decided to purchase the WHL club with the intent of bringing them into the NHL as an expansion team the following season.
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