Seattle can submit application for NHL franchise
The NHL will allow Seattle to apply for a professional team franchise. And a potential ownership group will likely do so.
The announcement came from Manalapan, Fla,, where the NHL board of governors was meeting.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that Seattle is the only city being considered for expansion. The fee to get the franchise would be $650 million. The ownership group would also have to launch a season ticket drive.
The group includes Jerry Bruckheimer, a Hollywood producer, and David Bonderman, a private equity CEO. Seattle would become the 32nd NHL team.
"That doesn't mean we have granted an expansion team," Commissioner Bettman said following the Board of Governors meeting. "We have agreed as a league to take and consider an expansion application and to let them run in the next few months a season-ticket drive."
The news about Seattle comes days after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed an agreement with a developer to renovate KeyArena so the venue could be ready for an NBA or NHL team.
Durkan and three City Council members meet with reporters Thursday afternoon to celebrate the NHL's decision. Durkan showed off a Seattle hockey jersey.
"We are going to get a hockey team," Durkan said. "We are going to bring an NHL team to Seattle,"
She said she will be speaking soon to Bettman and that she also intends to talk to the NBA commissioner about bringing an NBA team to Seattle.
Council member Debora Juarez even offered some names for the team, including the Steelhead and the Sockeye.
Durkan said the NHL leaders decided "this is the city to be in."
Seattle, she said, has a strong economy and a strong base for sports.
She acknowledged that getting an NBA team to replace the Sonics, which left 10 years ago for Oklahoma City, will be a longer-term challenge.
"We were wronged," she said about losing the Sonics. "We are a city that should have an NBA team."
Seattle also once was a major player in professional hockey, albeit 100 year ago.
The Seattle Metropolitans won hockey's Stanley Cup in 1917. The team played in Seattle from 1915 to 1924.