SEATTLE (CelebrityAccess) The aging KeyArena in Seattle, which is undergoing a massive $700 million renovation under the auspices of Oak View Group, is preparing for a reemergence as a home to a National Hockey League expansion team but an NHL exec says he has heard it won’t be ready for the 2020-21 season.
The NHL’s Board of Governors have a meeting in Sea Island, Ga., Dec. 3-4 where it will vote on the expansion bid from Seattle, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told NHL.com. However, Daly added that the ownership group in Seattle, which would pay a $650 million fee for the expansion, is pushing for the team to be ready to play in the 2020-21 season but he has also heard (from the infamous “they”) that the KeyArena is targeted for a November 2020 opening. That would be too late for an expansion team to play in the arena that season, which would launch in October.
He added that the NHL is not interested in having the team play at an alternate arena its inaugural season.
“We’ll see how that timetable adjusts over time,” Daly said. “They’ve mentioned that possibility, but I don’t think that’s an ideal way to bring in an expansion franchise by playing in an alternate venue for any period of time, really,” Daly said. “We’ll see how that plays out. I know they have an interest in starting in ’20-21 and we’d like the accommodate them any way we can.”
A noise-variance permit granted to OVG by the City of Seattle last week projects construction to be completed by November 2020, according to the Seattle Times. The permit will allow for nighttime construction and based its timeline on information submitted by OVG, the Times said.
Executives at ownership group NHL Seattle told the paper they weren’t sure what Daly was basing his comments on. The group issued a statement yesterday that it “recognizes that its ability to begin play in 2020 is dependent on the Arena being finished on time. We are confident that we will have a completed arena in time for the 2020 season and we will work closely with the NHL to keep them informed of our progress.”
NHL Seattle hired Ken Johnsen as its construction executive last week mostly to streamline the construction process, according to the Times.