Awaiting NHL Decision On Expansion, Seattle Seeks To Build Hockey Facilities 
Monday, October 8, 2018 at 06:30PM in NHL, NHL, Seattle, expansion, sports marketing

NYSJ Sports-Entertainment Business News Service

October 8, 2018:
Last week, the NHL's Executive Committee voted unanimously to accept a proposal by an ownership committee based in Seattle and to forward that proposal to the league Board of Governors, which could decide at its next meeting in December whether or not to award an expansion franchise to the city.

In anticipation of the decision, NHL Seattle has unveiled plans to build the NHL Seattle Ice Centre, described as a “state-of-the-art practice facility with NHL-ready team offices and three community ice rinks as a key centerpiece of the phased redevelopment of Northgate in Seattle.”

The NHL Seattle leadership team includes David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tod Leiweke, Tim Leiweke, Mayor Jenny S. Durkan, David Wright, Francesca Bodie and Len Potter.

If the NHL Board votes in favor of expansion, Seattle would become the league’s 32nd franchise, with on-ice plans aiming for the 2020-21 season. The ownership group said it already has 32,000 season ticket depositors.

The team would play in the renamed Seattle Center Arena, which the ownership group called a “historical landmark that will be retrofitted with a new world class interior, and built to be the most intimate and difficult away venue in the NHL.”

The proposed arena would be developed from the current KeyArena, north of downtown in the 74-acre entertainment complex known as Seattle Center — the location of the 1962 World's Fair — which itself is scheduled to undergo extensive renovation.

The NHL’s most recent expansion was last season, when the Vegas Golden Knights became the league’s 31st franchise.

This past Friday (Oct. 5), the NBA played an exhibition game in KeyArena between the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings, the first NBA game there since the Sonics left Seattle in 2008 and moved to Oklahoma City.

The arena's current tenants are the Seattle University Redhawks men's basketball team and the WNBA champion Seattle Storm, which will move to the University of Washington's Alaska Airlines Arena during renovations.

The NBA exhibition game likely was the last event there before it is closed for redevelopment.

A $700 million renovation of the KeyArena is scheduled to begin this year all under the management of Tim Leiweke and the Oak View Group.

Regarding the NHL Seattle Ice Centre, “If we are awarded an NHL franchise, creating a one-of-a-kind training facility that can serve as the home of hockey in the Pacific Northwest for youth and adult hockey, all within the city of Seattle, is critical,” Leiweke, CEO for NHL Seattle, said via the ownership group.

“We’ve sought out this amazing opportunity at Northgate to meet our goal. This facility is designed with three ice rinks that will allow us to serve our community and it will be one of the finest NHL training facilities ever built."

"This facility is designed with three ice rinks that will allow us to serve our community and it will be one of the finest NHL training facilities ever built."

Highlights of the new training facility center include:

• Three NHL regulation ice rinks with spectator viewing locations and seating for 1,000 fans in the main rink and 400 in rinks two and three.

• A NHL training facility that includes state-of-the-art locker rooms and strength and conditioning areas.

• Offices for NHL Seattle hockey operations and administrative staff; restaurant, bar and retail space; and partner space for on-site activation, ice sports rental, retail shop, locker rooms and hospitality areas.

NHL Seattle said it is working closely with the NHL, Simon (owner of the Northgate facility) and the City of Seattle, "with the goal of starting construction as soon as feasible."

Construction is scheduled to be completed in time for NHL Seattle's inaugural season, should the NHL Board of Governors vote to approve a team in Seattle.


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