In light of a league official questioning the project’s timeline, the NHL Seattle group says it is working to complete a KeyArena renovation in time for the 2020-21 season.
Billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are leading an effort to bring an NHL expansion franchise to Seattle. The prospective franchise is expected to receive NHL approval early next month, clearing the way for an expansion club to move into a renovated KeyArena in the coming years.
The 2020-21 season has been the earliest that the Seattle squad is expected to begin play, but the exact timing has not been announced. In an article Monday on NHL.com, deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated that he had heard the renovation might not conclude until November 2020. That would be one month after the season begins and, with the league not inclined to have the team play home games elsewhere before the project is complete, would likely result in Seattle’s launch taking place in the 2021-22 season.
However, NHL Seattle officials indicated that they are working to finish the KeyArena renovation in time for the 2020-21 season. More from the Seattle Times:
NHL Seattle released a statement Monday saying it “recognizes that its ability to begin play in 2020 is dependent on the Arena being finished on time. We are confident that we will have a completed arena in time for the 2020 season and we will work closely with the NHL to keep them informed of our progress.”
Daly in the NHL.com story made it sound as if Seattle officials had warned him the arena target date might be missed.
“They’ve mentioned that possibility, but I don’t think that’s an ideal way to bring in an expansion franchise by playing in an alternate venue for any period of time, really,” Daly said. “We’ll see how that plays out. I know they have an interest in starting in ’20-21 and we’d like the accommodate them any way we can.”
NHL Seattle officials said they weren’t sure what Daly was basing his comments on and offered no further insight into discussions they have had with him. Daly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The $700 million project at KeyArena is a major undertaking. Led and financed by the Oak View Group, the project will result in the venue being completely overhauled to meet modern NBA and NHL standards. There is a desire to eventually have leagues from both teams in the facility–Seattle has been without the NBA since the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008–but with an expansion effort already underway, the NHL is by far the more imminent possibility.
Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.
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