Decision on Seattle NHL expansion team could come this week

Tomorrow, the NHL Board of Governors is expected to meet to discuss whether or not Seattle, WA is worthy of hosting a hockey team.  The project has been in the works for what seems like forever and there are already plans drawn up for a new arena, with construction workers at the ready with their shovels as soon as approval is given.  While most expect the NHL to say yes, there is still the slight, minuscule chance that it will say no.

The groups that have been leading the push for the new franchise in Seattle, led by Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and majority stakeholder David Bonderman, are prepared to pay the $650-million expansion fee.  They have routinely asserted that they have the ambitious goal of seeing the new arena operational for the 2020 season, but they might be overextending themselves.  According to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, “The potential club ownership is very much interested in starting in 2020-21.  But their arena timeline continues to be a little too tight for that, so we’ll see whether they can move that up or change that.”

The franchise backers aren't overly concerned.  Dave Tippett, a former NHL head coach who was brought in to be an adviser for the ownership group, asserts, “There’s a lot of work to be done even before demolition starts.  They’ve had crews in there, but the first day when work can officially start is on Tuesday. That was part of the agreement with the city.”

The lofty plans to introduce the arena for the 2020 season could be the group's downfall.  The Board of Governors could decide that the project has not been thought out completely, leading them to deny the franchise request.  It's not a likely outcome, but it is a possibility.  We should know soon.  Three-fourths of the governors must agree to the franchise request and the outcome should be published before the end of the day tomorrow.

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