NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says everything appears on track for a Seattle expansion announcement, but the timing of the start date is a question.
The league’s official website published comments Monday from Daly saying he heard the KeyArena demolition and reconstruction may not be done in time for the 2020 season. Daly said he has heard the new arena is now targeted for completion in November 2020, which could be too late for the team to start play in the 2020-21 season.
“We’ll see how that timetable adjusts over time,” Daly is quoted as saying by NHL.com.
He also noted that it's not ideal to bring in an expansion franchise at an “alternate venue for any period of time, really.”
The city and the Oak View Group have maintained that arena construction could be done by October 2020.
“NHL Seattle recognizes that its ability to begin play in 2020 is dependent on the Arena being finished on time," NHL Seattle said in a statement. "We are confident that we will have a completed arena in time for the 2020 season and we will work closely with the NHL to keep them informed of our progress.”
The city issued a noise variance to the project last week, which could help the construction timeline. Temporary fencing has been put up around the KeyArena site, and demolition could begin as early as December. A clause in the deal does not allow demolition to begin until the NHL formally issues the expansion franchise, which is likely to happen at the Board of Governors meeting on December 3 and 4 in Sea Island, Georgia.