While the upcoming renovation to KeyArena is attracting considerable attention, plans for a Seattle NHL training facility could reflect the latest trends in the league.
With KeyArena set to undergo a $700 million renovation, the push is on to bring an NHL expansion team to the venue. The expansion plans–led by billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer–call for a Seattle NHL squad to begin play in the 2020-21 season, coinciding with the completion of improvements to KeyArena.
The NHL still has to grant formal approval to Seattle’s expansion bid, but plans are already taking shape for the club’s training facility. From the Vegas Golden Knights’ City National Arena, to the Chicago Blackhawks’ MB Ice Arena, there has been a steady flux of new NHL training facilities in recent years. While the complexes are designed to have state-of-the-art team facilities, they also have alternate rinks available for community use. Seattle’s project would follow those trends, meaning that it would not only give hockey a greater presence in the city but also open up potential corporate partnerships. More from the Seattle Times:
Two of the future Seattle team’s three planned practice-facility rinks will have full-time public usage while even the NHL training surface will only be reserved four hours daily by the team. That means more ice time for practices by amateur teams, bigger hockey tournaments, figure-skating clubs and all the friends, parents and fans that accompany them.
And creating that type of nonstop foot traffic is what teams and corporate sponsors drool over.
“It’s a big sponsorship opportunity,’’ said Michael Rapkoch, head of Texas-based Sports Value Consulting, who guides teams on stadium and arena deals.
The prospective site of the training facility has yet to be disclosed. As noted, Seattle’s NHL expansion bid is still in need of final approval. Should it go through, however, the training complex will surely be a major factor in the organization’s overall facility plans.
The privately financed KeyArena renovation project is being led by Oak View Group. The firm is pushing to begin construction later this year, and conclude the renovation in 2020. Ultimately, the project will raise the venue to modern NBA and NHL standards–which should help facilitate an effort to bring the NBA back to Seattle for the first time since the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008–but an NHL franchise is seen as Seattle’s more imminent possibility.
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