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Seattle Could Still Host 2021 NHL Draft

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group

Although construction at KeyArena is slated to unfold a bit longer than initially expected, league officials indicate Seattle could still host the 2021 NHL Draft.

Oak View Group is leading and financing $900 million-plus in construction at Seattle’s KeyArena, where work began in December. Through the project, the venue’s distinguished roof line is being left intact as construction crews dig down 15 feet to create more interior space and modern facilities, with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and an NHL expansion team to use the venue once work concludes.

When construction began in December, project officials were hoping that work would be completed in the spring of 2021. However, it was revealed recently that construction will not be completed as early as anticipated, with the goal now being to finish the project by the summer of 2021.

The hope has been that the arena will host the 2021 NHL Draft and expansion draft. While the delayed timeline creates some questions about whether the arena could land the NHL Draft, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Friday that the city remains in the running to host the event. No final decision has been made yet, but Daly noted that factors other than the arena’s completion schedule will determine when Seattle hosts a draft. More from the AP:

Mortenson, the new contractor, has been given incentives to try to have the arena ready by June 1, 2021, which would also allow it to host a full home slate for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

Team officials have said they’ll have a better idea of the timeline early next year.

Daly said the building isn’t the only factor in determining a draft site.

“There are a lot of logistical issues you have to make sure are squared away before you make a decision like that,” Daly said. “If they don’t get the draft in ’21, it’s not going to be long before they have a draft. That’s been part of our discussions already. It’s really part of the ownership transaction.”

Seattle’s expansion bid was formally approved by the NHL in December, paving the way for a 2021-22 launch as the league’s 32nd team.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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