The NHL’s potential expansion into Seattle continues to slowly creep forward and, by February, could reach the stage of gauging the city’s interest in housing another professional franchise.

After seeing its $600-million arena plans approved by the Seattle City Council in early December, soon followed by notification from the NHL that the league will consider expanding into the Emerald City, the Oak View Group is now moving into the next phase of its expansion bid.

The first item on the agenda: putting together the operational side of the organization.

“Everything is starting to take shape,” Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said on Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment Saturday. “[Oak View Group CEO] Tim Leiweke says he’s closing in on hiring an executive team. This will be people to get the business operations up and going.”

Likely leading the list of tasks on the schedule for that soon-to-be-assembled business team is putting together a season-ticket drive to see how interested the Seattle public is in having an NHL franchise in their city.