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NHLtoSeattle 2018 News in Review

We opened 2018 in pretty good shape. The year started with an approved and signed Memorandum of Understanding between Oak View Group and the City of Seattle to redevelop KeyArena. And the NHL announced that it was reviewing an expansion application from a Seattle ownership group (later to be named NHL Seattle). Here is a look at the timeline of NHL to Seattle news through 2018.

January 17th Oak View Group releases new designs of a redeveloped Seattle Center Arena as part of the design review process. (King5)

January 19th sleuths domain registrations that might signal some of the names OVG Seattle is evaluating.

January 23rd National media starts to ramp up their coverage of Seattle. (ESPN)

January 27th While speaking at the NHL All-Star game, the commissioner, Gary Bettman, addresses the progress of the OVG Seattle application. In summary, things are moving along. (King5)

February 13th OVG Seattle officially completes the NHL expansion application.

February 14th It is reported that the Seattle hockey group will launch a ticket drive on March 1st. A ticket drive with 10,000 deposits is considered one of the primary requirements of the NHL expansion application process.

February 20th The “NHL Seattle” brand and organization launches their campaign and confirms the season ticket drive that is planned for March 1st.

February 27th While speaking with the Toronto Star, Tim Leiweke states that they are taking nothing for granted with the league. (TheStar)

March 1st NHL Seattle season ticket drive is a smashing success. The 10,000 deposit target is achieved in 12 minutes and they receive 25,000 deposits on the first day. (

March 13th Tod Leiweke is reported to be leaving his NFL post as COO, fueling the speculation that Tod would return to Seattle to work with his brother Tim on launching the Seattle NHL franchise.

April 3rd Bonney Lake’s Dylan Gambrell makes his NHL debut with the San Jose Sharks.

April 10th Tod Leiweke named president of Seattle Hockey Partners (Sportsnet)

April 24th The draft of the Environmental Impact Statement on the Seattle Center Arena is released with no surprises.

May 19th & 20th As part of Seattle International Film Festival, hockey fans sell out the first two screenings of the Russian Five.

May 29th At the Stanley Cup Final, Gary Bettman says “there’s still work to be done”, setting the stage for an October or December vote. Foreshadowing.

June 2nd NHLtoSeattle hosts a Stanley Cup Playoff watch party at Art Marble. A couple 100 people show up and we go way beyond capacity.

June 7th Mt Vernon’s own TJ Oshie wins the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals. (King5)

June 18th Dave Tippett is hired by the NHL Seattle group as a senior advisor in charge of everything hockey related, from practice facility to assisting with determining where to put the AHL franchise. (Seattle Times)

June 20th While speaking at the summer Board of Governors meeting, Gary Bettman states that the Seattle expansion process continues. Interesting to note that for the first time Bettman acknowledges that the 2020-21 target season is aggressive.

July 10th Tod Leiweke states that everything remains on track. (Q13)

July 17th NHLtoSeattle does a two-part series on where to place the AHL affiliate franchise. Part 1  Part 2

July 26th It is reported that the Seattle Center arena process continues and remains on track. (King5)

August 7th Snohomish Native, Lexi Bender, signs back on with the Boston Pride of the NWHL.

August 28th NHL Seattle Hires Bill Chapin to lead the revenue side of the front office.

“Teams will not want to come play here because it’ll be an intimidating place because I know Seattle fans and they’ll make it intimidating for the other teams to come in.” – Bill Chapin

September 5th NHL Seattle adds local owners to the ownership groups.

September 13th The deadline to challenge the Environmental Impact Statement of the Seattle Center arena project comes and goes without a challenge. This clears a huge hurdle for the arena redevelopment.

September 19th NHLtoSeattle launches the Sound of Hockey podcast.

September 24th Seattle City Council approves the redevelopment of the arena at Seattle Center clearing the way for NHL approval.

October 2nd The NHL Executive Committee unanimously recommends Seattle expansion.

October 4th Fresh off the NHL Executive Committee recommendation, the NHL Seattle group announces plans for a 3-sheet practice facility and headquarters as part of a broad redevelopment project at the current site of the Northgate Mall.

November 12th It is reported that the NHL Board of Governors vote on Seattle’s expansion bid remains on track. NHL Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly, alludes to a 2021-22 start date to be more likely. (

December 4th Boom goes the dynamite! Seattle is awarded the 32nd NHL Franchise set to begin play in the 2021-22 season.

December 5th Ground is ceremoniously broken on the redevelopment of the Seattle Center arena.

December 13th CapFriendly launches their Seattle Expansion Draft tool

It was a good year, Seattle. I hope you enjoyed it! We should all relish in what’s been accomplished.

John Barr
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