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Seattle NHL All-Star Game Among Likely Events in City

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group hockey

Seattle NHL All-Star Game could be among the major events coming to the city, as league commissioner Gary Bettman discussed the possibility this week. 

In December, the NHL officially approved a Seattle expansion franchise as its 32nd team. Backed by an ownership group that is led by billionaire David Bonderman, the team will begin play in the 2021-22 season at a renovated KeyArena.

While the team is still years away from its launch, the NHL acknowledges that Seattle is on its radar for major league events–including a future draft and All-Star Game. During a visit to the city on Wednesday, Bettman said that the league has promised Seattle an All-Star Game within the first seven years of its franchise competing. With a future draft–which Seattle would host before welcoming its first All-Star Game–in the mix as well, Bettman signaled that the NHL is intent on bringing its major events to the city. More from The News Tribune:

“We’ve promised an all-star game to Seattle within seven years of playing. Doesn’t mean we’re going to wait seven years,” Bettman said, sitting next to NHL Seattle chief executive officer Tod Leiweke

“We are going to be bringing league events here. This is where we want to be.”

The draft date that makes sense to be in Seattle to kickoff its arrival in the league is the summer of 2021. That’s when the new team will have its expansion draft to round out its roster four months ahead of its first game. In the past the expansion draft has been separate from the general player draft for all other NHL teams.

‘We are looking at when it would be appropriate to bring the draft here,” Bettman said. “Obviously, we need to have an expansion draft. So we are looking at the possibilities. Nothing has been decided (on a date).”

The KeyArena renovation project is being led and financed by the Oak View Group, which will raise the venue to modern NBA and NHL standards. Though the upcoming expansion franchise will be the NHL’s first in Seattle, the current KeyArena–which opened as the Washington State Pavilion for Seattle’s World Fair in 1962 before undergoing multiple renovations along the way–has hosted All-Star Games in the past. It was the site of the NBA All-Star Game in 1974, when it was known as Seattle Center Coliseum, and hosted the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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