We're one step closer to seeing pro hockey in the Emerald City. Commissioner Gary Bettman told press on Tuesday that the NHL Board of Governors is officially recommending an expansion team in Seattle. The big decision was made following a meeting at NHL headquarters in New York, where a group of key stakeholders gathered and pitched their case to an executive committee.
Aside from famous hockey fan, Jerry Bruckheimer, the Seattle group comprised of Tod and Tim Leiweke, David Bonderman, David Wright, Francesca Bodie, Len Potter, and mayor Jenny Durkan. The aforementioned leader sold her city hard to NHL brass, and she echoed that same passion to the public, saying she wants a team up and running for the 2020-2021 season. "I'm very confident we're going to be able to move forward and get what we need from the NHL and the team and stick to the schedule so we have hockey in 2020," she told journalists this morning.
This would be the NHL's 32nd franchise and first one in Seattle — it's worth noting, however, that the Pacific Coast Hockey League's Seattle Metropolitans took home the Stanley Cup way back in 1917. This would also be the second expansion since last season's debut of everyone's favourite Cinderella story, the Vegas Golden Knights. Much like Vegas a few years ago, everything seems to be set in place for Seattle to win their own bid.
One thing to be concerned about remains KeyArena, the proposed venue to house Seattle's squad, which is currently in the midst of a massive $700 million rebuild. Despite this big project, the city has shown tangible interest in NHL hockey. In March, Seattle launched a successful ticket drive that gained 25,000 deposits on its first day. All of this and more point to a puck being dropped in Washington state very soon. Bettman stated that if everything is up to league standards, we'll see some NHL action in 2020. "If it's not," he teased, "then we'll do it in '21."