Just one day after Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a memorandum of understanding with Oak View Group to redevelop KeyArena to bring NHL and NBA teams to Seattle, the NHL has reportedly agreed to consider Seattle’s bid for an expansion franchise.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the league would accept and consider the application from the Seattle investment group, and be allowed to conduct a season ticket drive to gauge fan interest, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.
Mayor Jenny Durkan confirmed these reports, saying, “We are very happy to confirm the announcement that the NHL will allow Seattle to apply for a professional team hockey franchise. It was a unanimous vote, and we think we’re going to be bringing hockey back to Seattle.”
The expansion fee is $650 million.
Bettman announces that the NHL Board of Governors has agreed to accept/consider an expansion application from Seattle and allow Bonderman group to conduct a season ticket drive
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 7, 2017
The ownership group is led by David Bonderman, CEO and founding partner of private equity company TPG Capital, and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
According to NHL.com, despite the announcement, Commissioner Bettman said, “That doesn't mean we have granted an expansion team. We have agreed as a league to take and consider an expansion application and to let them run in the next few months a season-ticket drive."
Darren Dreger of TSN Hockey also said a “relocation possibility is included in the Seattle expansion process.” The Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes have been mentioned as possible relocation candidates.
Houston was listed as another city where expansion or relocation would be a possibility, but Bettman said nothing is currently underway to bring a franchise to Houston.
Durkan said she would be talking to Bettman about the expansion effort soon. She was joined at the news conference by council members Debora Juarez, Rob Johnson and Bruce Harrell.
So, let the speculation begin on what the team name could be called, although Durkan said, "It shouldn't be called the Thunder."
Watch Durkan's news conference via KING5 here:
See the full release from the mayor's office below:
Mayor Durkan and Councilmember Juarez Applaud NHL Decision
SEATTLE (December 7, 2017) – Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and Councilmember Debora Juarez applauded the NHL’s decision to allow Seattle to apply for a NHL expansion team.
“This is a good day for Seattle sports fans, our City, and our region's economy. The NHL’s announcement helps lays the foundation for a team in 2020 in Seattle’s redeveloped Key Arena. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, and I look forward to working with the community, the National Hockey League, and Oak View Group to bring a hockey team to Seattle exactly 100 years since our team won the Stanley Cup,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan.
“Seattle is ready! We are thrilled that the NHL Board of Governors took this major step towards bringing the best hockey in the world to our city. Seattle Center is on track to be a world-class venue for an NHL team and for tens of thousands of fans,” said Councilmember Juarez, Co-Chair of the Select Committee on Civic Arenas. “Go Seattle Steelheads! Go Seattle Sockeyes! Go Seattle Seawards!”