Seattle City Council approved a $600-million renovation of KeyArena, and it might only be a matter of time before the NHL shows up with a team now that there's an arena deal in place. The shine hasn’t yet worn off the NHL’s newest toy, the Vegas Golden Knights, but after overwhelming approval by Seattle City Council of a $600-million renovation to the existing KeyArena, it appears the league could be putting down roots in a new city in the near future. On Monday, by a vote of 7-1, Seattle City Council green-lit a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Oak View Group, an organization co-founded by Tim Leiweke, who was formerly the president and chief executive officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Los Angeles Kings, and operated in the same roles with Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment from August 2013 until October 2015. And the MOU has finally given some clarity to an arena situation that has been watched, and watched closely, by those who believe Seattle is next up on the NHL’s docket after expanding to Las Vegas ahead of the 2017-18 campaign. The $600-million project, which, according to the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker, hasn’t yet been signed off on (but is expected to be) by Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, will go towards renovating and upgrading the 55-year-old KeyArena. The arena, which first opened its doors in April 1962, currently plays host to the NCAA’s Seattle Redhawks and WNBA’s Seattle Storm, but hasn’t had a permanent major league tenant since the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics left the city following the 2007-08 season. Updating the arena, which presently has a capacity of roughly 15,000 for hockey, could be the last hurdle when it comes to bringing professional sports back to the city. In fact, according to Baker, the NHL could be making an announcement about plans for Seattle in the coming months. Baker wrote Monday that such an announcement could be “regarding the addition of either an expansion or a relocated team” to Seattle, while King5’s Chris Daniels reported there is “widespread belief” that Oak View Group will attempt to bring a team to the arena, noting that Boston Bruins owner and chairman of the NHL’s Board of Governors, Jeremy Jacobs, is “an identified partner” of the group. However, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun noted that, as of Monday, the Seattle arena deal and any potential relocation or expansion talks weren’t officially on the docket for the NHL board of governors' meetings later this week.
Seattle expansion discussed at NHL Board of Governors meeting
The Hockey News | Dec 7