Report: Seattle Group closing in on expansion approval

The date is set and the gears are in motion. Who’s excited for the NHL’s 32nd franchise?

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According to a report from The Hockey News’ Jared Clinton, who cites Seattle’s 950 KJR radio station, the group behind Seattle’s NHL expansion bid will meet with the NHL’s executive committee in October to begin the process of league expansion approval.

The group, collectively known as The Oak View Group, includes CEO Tod Leiweke and prospective owners David Bondsman and Jerry Bruckheimer.  

“I’ve never prepared like this for a presentation or meeting, and I’ve had a few in my career,” Leiweke said. “This is an important moment because we owe it to the city to do our best. There’s so much excitement and those 32,000 depositors absolutely deserve us getting up there that day and giving it everything we’ve got.”

If all goes well then the group will be granted permission to make their case in front of the NHL’s Board of Governors in December. From there, they’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from dropping the puck in Seattle. Of course, the sooner the better as potential future general manager Dave Tippett has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to come up with a hypothetical plan for his hypothetical team.

“(Tippett is) doing forensics on what happened in Las Vegas,” Leiweke said. “But he’s also looking out and saying, ‘Here’s what’s going on across the league.’ We’re doing early work now to begin to prepare…We’ve got to do our homework, we’ve got to be prepared when we get to that moment.” Surely, Tippett has to be both simultaneously intrigued and intimidated by what Vegas GM George McPhee has been able to build with his franchise. No one is expecting Seattle to contend for a Cup anytime soon, but then again... Vegas just proved that almost anything is possible.

Still, despite all the speculation that the Seattle bid is a slam dunk, Leiweke and his partners are making no assumptions. “We are not taking anything for granted,” Leiweke said. “It would be an incredible honor to be the 32nd franchise, so we’re going to be prepared for that day and that task.”

For the full coverage of this development, check out Clinton’s article below:

President of Seattle expansion group eyes October meeting with NHL executive committee, writes Jared Clinton