Seattle’s bid for an NHL expansion team could be voted on as soon as December after the potential ownership group announced this week that it has taken steps to secure an arena deal, a league spokesman said (via NHL.com).
The NHL Board of Governors is scheduled to meet in December, and “(w)e would have the vote in person,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday.
Seattle Hockey Partners on Wednesday issued the following statement:
“Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the Oak View Group today announced critical steps forward to renovate Seattle’s new Seattle Center Arena (formerly known as KeyArena). These steps support an upcoming presentation to the executive committee of the Board of Governors for the National Hockey League on Oct. 2, 2018. Three key agreements — a development agreement for the new arena, a long-term lease agreement, and an integration agreement — were transmitted by Mayor Durkan and introduced for the Seattle City Council for their consideration.”
The potential ownership group, led by Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and private equity CEO David Bonderman, is hoping to be ready to begin play in the 2020-21 season as the NHL’s 32nd team, but Daly said it’s more realistic to target the 2021-22 season.
After a Board of Governors meeting in June in Las Vegas, commissioner Gary Bettman said the Seattle expansion effort was ongoing and hadn’t suffered any setbacks, but there was no timetable for it to be completed.
At that time, Bettman said much of the timing for expansion depended on an already approved $600 million renovation of KeyArena, the former home of the NBA’s SuperSonics before they relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.
The expansion fee would be $650 million, up from the $500 million the Vegas Golden Knights paid to enter the NHL last season.
The Seattle group also announced this week that it had added local investors, including Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy and MLS Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer, as well as Christopher and Ted Ackerley, whose father, Barry Ackerley, owned the Sonics.