The clock is ticking down to the December day that the National Hockey League Board of Governors gets around to telling the people who are renovating the Seattle arena that once housed the National Basketball Association’s SuperSonics, and Seattle’s potential NHL owners that you have been accepted to join the lodge in 2020. The not quite ready for the NHL Seattle franchise owners and backers are acting as if getting into the league is a done deal. The group has hired a former Vancouver Canucks executive Victor De Bonis as Chief Operating Officer, the group already had a CEO, there are deposit for tickets in the bank and a hired construction executive Ken Johnson to oversee the arena redo. Clearly, the Seattle Hockey Partners would not have gone to this extreme if there was any doubt about getting the NHL’s Board of Governors green light in December.
Seattle is a rich market with plenty of corporate money and the market is big enough to get a good TV deal. Seattle fills in an empty spot on the map in the US Pacific Northwest and there is a rivalry with Vancouver that will start up. Seattle has the three requirements to run a successful franchise. There is government support as evidenced with the rebuilding of the arena. Seattle is a good TV market. Seattle’s corporate market is pretty significant. The Seattle bid has NHL owners’ support including the league’s most powerful owner Boston’s Jeremy Jacobs and there are partnerships with the New York area’s three team owners. The NHL will get a Pacific Northwest United States market, one the league wanted in the 1970s but never materialized. The NHL did award Seattle an expansion team for the 1976-77 season but there was a money issue and Seattle was forgotten. In 2018, Seattle has the money to join the National Hockey League.