The announcement comes the same week the Seattle City Council approved and Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a $600 million agreement with the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group to renovate KeyArena.
During this 100th anniversary year of the Seattle Metropolitans winning the Stanley Cup, the NHL announced an expansion process Thursday that likely will lead to the city gaining the league’s 32nd franchise.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced after a Board of Governors meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., that the league has received a request to file an expansion application from billionaire investment banker David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Bonderman and Bruckheimer are partnered with the Oak View Group (OVG), which this week finalized a deal with the City of Seattle for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena.
The league has agreed to review the application, has set a $650 million expansion fee and now will gauge progress by the Seattle group in coming months before deciding whether to award a franchise to this market.
“Mr. Bonderman, with his partner Jerry Bruckheimer, has asked if they might file an application for an expansion team,’’ Bettman told reporters. “And the board has said that they may do that. That doesn’t mean that we have granted an expansion team. We’ve agreed as a league to take and consider an expansion application and to let them run — at some point in the next few months — a season-ticket drive.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with OVG on Wednesday. Durkan and the city hope the renovated KeyArena attracts an NHL team, and eventually the return of an NBA team. The Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.
Durkan held a news conference Thursday to discuss the NHL announcement.
“I said (Wednesday) I thought we were on the path,” Durkan said. “I didn’t know it would happen so quickly. We are thrilled that it is happening. I will be talking to the NHL commissioner soon. I’m also hoping to talk to the NBA commissioner because I know I’m going to get that.
“We saw the (Vancouver) Canucks are really excited to come here and get beat. And we’re excited to go up north. We remember Seattle has more Stanley Cups and we plan to add to that.
“We are looking forward to bringing the NHL to Seattle.”
The process announced Thursday is similar to what the Las Vegas Golden Knights did ahead of being awarded an NHL expansion team…