Former Seattle Seahawks and Sounders CEO Tod Leiweke will run Seattle's future NHL franchise. Leiweke was introduced Wednesday.
Leiweke is coming back to a city he has spoken fondly of ever since his departure. Leiweke will also be working to make his brother's vision, to bring hockey to Seattle, a reality.
The Seattle NHL investor group is led by David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Tod's brother Tim Leiweke. The group has already made a bid to the NHL for a franchise to begin play at a new arena at Seattle Center in 2020.
Tod Leiweke is well regarded in sports business and civic circles for his time in Seattle. He helped lead the launch of the Sounders FC Franchise and helped reinvigorate the Seahawks fan base with the hiring of Pete Carroll and John Schneider. While in Seattle, he also led a United Way campaign on homelessness.
Leiweke, 58, joined the Seahawks in 2003, and also ended up running the Portland Trail Blazers for Seahawks owner Paul Allen, before leaving to run the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010. Jeff Vinik, who owns the Lightning, told KING 5 in January how instrumental Leiweke was in helping to boost the team and kick off a construction boom near what is now Amalie Arena.
Leiweke then left to be the Chief Operating Officer of the National Football League in August of 2015, before departing in March of this year. The buzz immediately began that Leiweke would be returning to the place where he found unparalleled success as a team executive.
The announcement comes just a week or so before the draft environmental review of the new arena is complete, according to the city. It also shows a certain amount of confidence that the NHL will grant the city an expansion franchise later this year, perhaps as early as June.