NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday the league will consider an expansion application for a Seattle franchise, but they will need to examine all the aspects and do their homework before expanding to the new market.
The new team would cost $650 million, Bettman said, but added that the NHL is looking at only Seattle for their 32nd team.
“That doesn’t mean we have granted an expansion team,” Bettman said following the Board of Governors meeting.
“We have agreed as a league to take and consider an expansion application and to let them run in the next few months a season ticket drive.”
Seattle has made no secret of their desire for a NHL team.
On Monday, city council voted to begin renovations on the city-owned KeyArena in an effort to turn it into a premier venue that could be ready for an NBA or NHL team within three years.
A Los Angeles-based development group signed a memorandum of understanding with Seattle to privately finance a $600 million remodel.
Oak Bay View group has lined up billionaire David Bonderman and filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer as the lead owners for a potential NHL franchise.
The president of the Vancouver Canuck is looking forward to potentially driving to one of his team’s road games in the near future.
Trevor Linden says the club welcomes the development from this week’s NHL board of governors meetings that the league has agreed to consider an expansion application for Seattle.
Hollywood filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer and billionaire David Bonderman have also been given the green light to start a season-ticket campaign to gauge fan interest.
“For us, it’s a natural,” Linden said Friday after the board of governors meeting wrapped up in Florida.
“To have a freeway rivalry would be great.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cautioned that the potential for a team in Seattle — which comes with a price tag of US$650 million — is still in its early stages, but Linden made it clear the Canucks are fully on board with the league’s 32nd franchise playing a couple of hours down the road.
“Tons of people from Vancouver go to Seattle to watch other sporting events or just hang out,” he said. “People from Seattle come up to Vancouver just to see what Vancouver has to offer, so I can see that being an interesting play.”
Vancouver is about 230 kilometres north of Seattle. The Canucks’ closest current geographical rival are the Calgary Flames, who are roughly a 90-minute flight away.
“From ownership on down it’s always been viewed as a very positive development, and that hasn’t changed,” said Linden.
“We’re not market protecting. We’ve never had any conversations, whether it’s internal or with the league.
“It’s just a great opportunity.”