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OVG-Seattle and NHL Seattle Announce New Hirings

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OVG-Seattle and NHL Seattle have announced the appointments of three new senior leaders. April West is appointed Vice President of Human Resources, while Don Graham is named Vice President of Events, and Katie Townsend joins as Vice President of Communications.

“We are pleased to announce the hiring of April, Don, and Katie,” said Tod Leiweke, CEO of NHL Seattle. “All three have proven track records in strategy and business leadership and offer a unique perspective that we are seeking as we build our team. I look forward to working alongside them.”


April West joins OVG-Seattle and NHL Seattle with a proven track record in employee and leadership development, employee relations and performance management. She has experience working as an HR professional at organizations including JW Marriott Chicago, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the Chicago Cubs. 

“I am excited about working with the Seattle community to help build a team that speaks for the people in its city and respects its unique culture,” said West. “I’m eager to lay the foundation for an organization that is truly a valued member of the community.”

In this role, West will be responsible for development, implementation, and supervision of policies and programs for staff at OVG-Seattle, NHL Seattle and the New Arena at Seattle Center. 

“Since day one, we’ve strived to bring in the best talent at every layer of our workforce, and we strongly believe that April is the right person to manage this,” said Victor de Bonis, COO of NHL Seattle. “She will lead by example, ensuring that our employees come to work proud to represent our organizations.”


Having managed events for large venues including the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Don Graham joins OVG-Seattle to oversee and manage events at the New Arena at Seattle Center. He will serve as the organization’s overall head of event planning and management, guest services, front-of-house operations, and special events booking.

“I am beyond thrilled at the opportunity to join the best leaders in the sports and entertainment industry with OVG-Seattle,” Graham said. “Being part of the organization from the very beginning allows us to create an atmosphere for fans in Seattle to enjoy music and sports like never before.” 

“As someone with a track record of overseeing some of the biggest sports, music, and entertainment events in the country, we are very fortunate to have Don join the team here in Seattle,” said Steve Mattson, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the New Arena at Seattle Center. “Don is exactly the caliber of talent we’re looking for.”


A former BBC senior news producer and an award-winning communications professional, Katie Townsend joins the organizations with over a decade of experience in multi-platform storytelling. As a journalist, she told global stories to audiences of millions. For the past four years, Townsend has been at WE Communications developing communications strategies and storytelling for clients including Microsoft. 

In her role with OVG-Seattle and NHL Seattle, Townsend will establish the communications program, executive communications and media relations for the franchise and the New Arena at Seattle Center. 

“Storytelling is at the heart of what I do and the opportunity to help create and tell the story of NHL Seattle and the New Arena at Seattle Center is one that I could not pass up,” said Townsend. “I’m excited to help us grow into a franchise with a name, brand, and identity.” 

“Katie’s track record of telling the story of some of the biggest events in the world and on behalf of organizations that shape our day-to-day lives makes us very excited to add her to the team,” said de Bonis. “Her experience will allow us to tell the story of our franchise to our fans and the media as we continue the journey to our first game at the New Arena at Seattle Center.” 

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