Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

The group hoping to bring an NHL team to Seattle has made further progress.

Oak View Group and Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan announced three new agreements relating to the prospective team’s arena deal and revealed several new investors in the potential franchise Wednesday.

A development agreement for the new arena, a long-term lease agreement, and an integration agreement were transmitted by the mayor and introduced to the Seattle City Council for consideration.

The group has already received approval from the city to redevelop KeyArena, the home of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and former home of the NBA’s SuperSonics.

The new investors are David and Jeff Wright (whose family owns the Space Needle and other local landmarks), Seattle Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer, Christoper and Ted Ackerley (sons of former Sonics owner Barry Ackerley), Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, and Jay Deutsch, the CEO and co-founder of Seattle-based premium merchandise agency BDA.

David Wright will serve as vice chairman of Seattle Hockey Partners, the formal name of the alliance that includes Oak View Group and all of its investors in the Seattle NHL effort.


Those in charge of the potential NHL franchise in Seattle will get their chance to impress the league in the not too distant future.

“We now know that in early October we’re going to see the executive committee,” Tod Leiweke, the president and CEO of the prospective team, told 950 KJR on Tuesday. “We believe that will be on October 2nd in New York City … We then go in front of the entire membership of the NHL to make our case, and we’re going to be ready.”

Leiweke reiterated that he isn’t underestimating the importance of the meeting.

“We are not taking anything for granted,” he said. “It would be an incredible honor to be the 32nd franchise, so we’re going to be prepared for that day and that test. We are right now building a spectacular presentation that we’ve been working on for weeks. I’ve never prepared like this for a presentation or meeting, and I’ve had a few in my career. This is an important moment because we owe it to the city to do our best.”

Leiweke left his previous post as the NFL’s COO in March and was hired in his current role in April. He joined his brother Tim, the CEO of Oak View Group, which will serve as the team’s owners if a franchise is granted.

The Tod Leiweke-led group that’s bidding to bring an NHL expansion team to Seattle has hired Dave Tippett as a senior advisor, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.

Tippett, who last served as the head coach and VP of hockey operations with the Arizona Coyotes, is expected to help oversee the expansion process and give feedback on items such as the construction of a training facility and acquiring an AHL affiliate.

“There are a lot of times where you need somebody with some hockey experience, whether it be infrastructure like the dressing rooms, the training facilities, or putting together the groundwork of what a skeleton hockey staff would look like,” Tippett told Baker.

“First and foremost, operationally, you have to set the culture of the organization,’” he added. “There are a lot of key things, like where the infrastructure of the team is going to be and figuring out the market. But the ability to define the culture of a team that can really grow and prosper, that’s first and foremost.

“It comes before you start hiring people. Before you start getting players and doing drafts and stuff like that.”

Some have also speculated that Tippett could become the team’s first head coach, but no decision will be made on that front until the franchise is awarded, which won’t happen until at least September.

“We’ll see, I’m not ruling it out,” Tippett said of returning to coaching. “It would have to be the right situation.

“But also, I’m intrigued about getting into another part of the game with this.”

The NHL Board of Governors will meet this week, but commissioner Gary Bettman has already noted that Seattle expansion won’t be on the agenda, leaving the meetings in September and December as the earliest the Seattle group can be awarded a franchise.

The group looking to bring an NHL team to Seattle will have to wait a little longer to get the rubber stamp.

It’s long been thought conditional approval for an expansion franchise in the Emerald City could come at the Board of Governors meetings next month. But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says that plan has changed.

“Is it going to be on the June agenda? No,” he told Tim Booth and Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press. “After that, could it be September? Could it be the annual meeting in December? It’s possible.”

Back in March, as Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group (along with investors David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer) celebrated a successful ticket drive, both Leiweke and Bruckheimer mentioned the June meetings as the next hurdle to clear. However, Bettman told the AP this week the league is going to take its time.

“What we have said to the people – David Bonderman’s (Oak View Group) – is we’re on your timetable,” Bettman said, adding that the NHL still has plenty of work to do on the matter.

“We have to finish doing our due diligence and our homework. We need to have the timetable understanding as to when the building’s going to get done. We can move as fast or as slowly as you want. There’s no rush.”

Bettman said OVG has some work to do as well, including overseeing the redevelopment of Seattle’s KeyArena.

“We’re in the middle of the process. They’re doing their homework, and they’re proceeding on two fronts because they’ve got to renovate a building and they’ve got to pursue the team and they’re doing both very nicely. They’re working with the city, they hired (CEO of the prospective team) Tod Leiweke.”

Seattle fans responded in full force on March 1, putting down 10,000 deposits in the first 12 minutes of the ownership group’s ticket drive.

If the NHL grants the city an expansion club, it would likely begin play in the 2020-21 season.

A new city has emerged as a possible site for NBA expansion.

One league executive told SEC Network’s Jarrett Sutton that Kansas City will inevitably be awarded a franchise, as it’s viewed as the NBA’s most valuable market for league expansion, alongside Seattle.

The Kings called Kansas City home from 1972 to 1985 before moving on to Sacramento. The city has an arena which opened in 2007 that can hold approximately 19,000 people. It’s currently going unused.

Meanwhile, conversations of an eventual return to Seattle do seem realistic, as the city is preparing an arena that is awaiting a franchise to fill the seats.

Seattle previously hosted the SuperSonics from 1967 to 2008. The franchise was relocated to Oklahoma City due to a lack of funding for a new stadium.

A move into Mexico City has also gained traction over the last year, with the NBA expected to place a G League franchise south of the border. It’s possible it will be used as a tester to gauge the plausibility of big-league expansion.

Former NFL chief operating officer Tod Leiweke has been named CEO and president of the prospective NHL franchise expected to arrive in Seattle in the near future, he confirmed at a press conference Wednesday.

Leiweke’s brother, Tim, is leading the charge for the $600-million renovation of KeyArena as head of the Oak View Group.

Tod has prior experience in the Pacific Northwest as the former CEO of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, and is excited to be involved.

“It’s an incredible thrill to come home, Leiweke said, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. “Not just for me but for my family.”

Seattle’s group proposal to the NHL is still under review, though its expected to be awarded the league’s 32nd franchise in June at a cost of $650 million. The goal is to have the team on the ice for the 2020-21 season.

If Seattle is granted the next NHL franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights aren’t expected to lose a player or receive a cut of the expansion fee.

There’s no reason to expect Vegas would be put in a position to lose a player, as they won’t be getting a share of the $650-million fee Oak View Group would pay if their application is accepted, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

That was part of the agreement between the NHL and Golden Knights owner Bill Foley when he was awarded the 31st club, per the report. The other 30 teams would get $21.67 million each from Seattle after receiving $16.67 million when Vegas entered the league.

Commissioner Gary Bettman told GMs last month that any potential future Seattle expansion draft would operate under the same conditions as the one Vegas completed last June.

An expansion draft is unlikely to take place before June 2020.

OVG has already filed its expansion application. It received 10,000 season-ticket deposits within 12 minutes of opening its season-ticket drive on March 1.