NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says Seattle fans shouldn't expect a Seattle NHL expansion announcement in October, and the league is considering delaying the start of any new franchise until 2021.
The Seattle Hockey Partners, led by billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, have pushed for a 2020 start in conjunction with the opening of a new $700 million Arena at Seattle Center.
That project will get a final review of transaction documents Friday before the Seattle City Council's Committee on Civic Arenas. A delay in a franchise start time, in theory, would account for any challenges with the Arena construction and a potential league work stoppage in 2020. Daly made the comments to KING 5 on Thursday, a day after the Seattle group unveiled new local investors.
However, the Seattle group remains focused on pushing for 2020, including making their formal presentation to the league. That includes a key meeting on October 2 in New York City before the NHL's Executive Committee.
The committee's ruling is seen as significant for the rest of the league's owners, who would vote on the application later in the year.
Seattle City Council will hear the status of the redevelopment on Friday, which includes updates to traffic, timing, and finances.
The Oak View Group, led by Tim Leiweke, has committed $2.5 million to build affordable housing in addition to the $700 million privately financed Arena.
The city also says while the “keys” to the site would be handed over on October 15, demolition would not begin until December of 2018. Also, a clause in the deal calls for the NHL to assume the terms of the 39-year-deal with the city if anything happened to the Bonderman group.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, along with city leaders, have targeted September 24 for a final council vote on the transaction documents.
Leiweke, in a statement to KING5, said “We are focused on and expect to be ready for the 2020-2021 season should approval be given for us to join as the 32nd franchise, per the request of the NHL. Should that direction from the NHL change, we are prepared to move to 2021-2022. The actual start year is also dependent on the timeline for approval and EIS process in Seattle, as well as the construction process. We know there are other considerations that the NHL will weigh as it makes its decision.”