Recently, Seattle has taken another major step towards gaining an NHL hockey team.
“Seattle’s a place you want to have hockey, and if you have hockey in Seattle, everybody’s going to do better.” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkhan remarked to the Washington Post before she and several executive members of the Seattle Hockey Partners met with the NHL’s Board of Governors executive committee to discuss plans to bring an NHL expansion team to Seattle. The meeting ended with the Board of Governors having decided to bring the matter to a final vote as early as December.
This marks an important step forward in starting Seattle’s NHL legacy by the 2020-2021 season. Huge fan support, a new arena, and a private investing group have made the NHL consider Seattle as an expansion city to bring a new team to the league.
On Mar. 1 this year, NHL Seattle started taking deposits for season tickets. The NHL requires a city to sell 10,000 season ticket deposits before it can be considered for expansion. Hockey fans met the 10,000 ticket goal in just 12 minutes, and bought a total of 32,000 season ticket deposits.
In a statement to NHL Seattle, Tod Leiweke, the president and CEO of Seattle Hockey Partners, said “What our fans did that day will forever be a part of the history of this franchise.”
KeyArena has several issues as a hockey arena. Seattle’s current junior league hockey team, the Thunderbirds, play home games at ShoWare Arena instead of KeyArena. Renovation of KeyArena to meet NHL standards would cost millions of dollars in public funds, and city leaders were hesitant to move forward with plans. The SHP changed all that.
“We’re here to bring [this building] back to its grandeur,” Lieweke said about the SHP’s plan to renovate KeyArena. The roof and pillars, which are historical landmarks, will be preserved. The inside will be completely changed to ensure the NHL, NBA, and WNBA have a home while also giving fans the experience they deserve.
Fans can look forward to the 700 million dollar renovation tab being picked up entirely by private investors from the SHP. Ground is slated to be broken on the renovation this October.
If everything goes smoothly, this will be Seattle’s first NHL team. However, this is not Seattle’s first time with a major league hockey team. From 1915 to 1924, the Seattle Metropolitans played for the city in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. In 1917, the Metropolitans were the first American team to win the Stanley Cup, which many believe is hockey’s most prestigious title. They even beat an NHL team to win it. Seattle is excited for the opportunity to enter the NHL and bring the Stanley Cup home again.