Prospective Seattle NHL franchise ready for their date with destiny

As Oak View Group gets ready for the upcoming vote regarding their prospective NHL franchise, Seattle’s Mayor offers some promising news.

NHL fans in Seattle have Tuesday Dec. 4 circled on their calendars. This is when the NHL Board of Governors will more than likely vote on whether to award the Emerald City with the league’s 32nd franchise.

The vote will take place in Sea Island, Georgia, as part of the Winter NHL Board of Governors Meeting. In theory, there is no reason for Oak View Group‘s expansion bid to be rejected. (A two-thirds majority vote is required.)

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman essentially said as much himself back in October, during the previous Board of Governors’ meeting in Manhattan. As reported by Adam Kimelman of NHL.com, Bettman said:

“The recommendation was to proceed with expansion in Seattle, subject to completing the process early with a report and presentation to the full board in December.”

And yet this is still Seattle, where sports fans always have at least some concern in the back of their collective minds, no matter how much success the Seahawks, Huskies football team and Sounders have enjoyed in recent seasons. (You only need to go back to 2008 for the ultimate example of this; the year was an unmitigated disaster for Seattle sports fans.)

As such, Tim Leiweke and company are doing everything possible, to ensure their bid is accepted. And more good news came in this respect on Tuesday, courtesy of Jenny Durkan.

The Seattle Mayor suggested KeyArena will be ready to host an NHL team by 2020. As reported by Josh Weinstein of Sportsnet, Durkan said:

“We think it can and so does (Oak View Group). Every major project there’s surprises, things you don’t plan for and can’t expect, and we know that, and try to build in those contingencies. But our plan is to open in 2020.”

If this comes to fruition, it would line up with Bettman’s vision of having the prospective Seattle franchise ready to play at the start of the 2020-21 season. However, it should be noted there is no pressure as such, with the NHL Commissioner prepared to wait until 2021-22 if need be.

Regardless, it is still good news for Seattle’s NHL fans to hear that Oak View Group are determined to be ready sooner than later. A privately funded $700-million renovation plan for KeyArena was unanimously approved by Seattle’s city council in September.

Of course, first things first; Seattle still needs to officially have their franchise bid approved. Assuming this is the outcome on Dec. 4, NHL fans can then really start to get excited about what lies ahead.

What is your prediction for the vote regarding Seattle’s NHL franchise bid? Do you see any conceivable reason why the bid would be rejected by the Board of Governors, or are you extremely confident that Oak View Group will receive approval? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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