Victor de Bonis has been named the Chief Operating Officer of NHL Seattle, representing a major hire as the prospective expansion franchise inches closer to approval.
Billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are leading an effort to bring an NHL expansion franchise to Seattle. Final approval could be granted by the league early next month, clearing the way for a new Seattle squad to begin play in the coming years at KeyArena–which will be revamped through a $700 million project by the Oak View Group.
In an announcement issued on Monday, Seattle Hockey Partners revealed that de Bonis had been appointed the COO of the prospective franchise. A former Vancouver Canucks executive who served in the COO role for that organization was well, de Bonis brings plenty of NHL experience to Seattle. More from the Seattle Times:
De Bonis had spent 23 years in roles with the Canucks, their parent company and Rogers Arena in Vancouver before leaving in March of last year to pursue what he called “a new challenge in my career.’’ He had been the team’s COO since 2007 and also served as its alternate representative on the NHL’s board of governors since 2010.
He and NHL Seattle president and CEO Tod Leiweke worked together with the Canucks from 1994 through 1999.
“I am excited to be coming into Seattle Hockey Partners on the ground floor and to get the chance to work with Tod again,’’ de Bonis said in a release. “There’s nothing like bringing a franchise to a new city and having a second chance to do so is an honor, including being part of the team.’’
Leiweke, in the same release, said, “Victor has been a key player in the Vancouver Canucks’ operational success and is a longtime sports industry veteran.’’
De Bonis was not the only hiring announced out of Seattle on Monday, as Ken Johnsen was named as Construction Executive for OVG-Seattle. In his role, Johnsen will serve on the lead of NHL Seattle-related construction projects, including the KeyArena overhaul and a separate training facility. He has spent the past 30 years as owner and principle of Shiels Obletz Johnsen, Inc. (SOJ), a Seattle-Portland development management firm.
“From the Central Waterfront Seawall Project to Pike Place Market’s renovation, I’ve been involved in many major Seattle projects, but there’s something special about supporting a brand-new sports franchise in my city,” Johnsen said in a statement. “Seattle Hockey Partners has already brought a new energy to Seattle, and there is so much potential for what’s to come. I grew up going to exciting sports and concert events at Seattle Center. Getting to bring these visions to life is going to be an enormous passion project for me.”
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