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An updated timeline for NHL Seattle Expansion

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David Bonderman gave a brief update to the expansion timeline and I suspect we will hear an announcement following the December Board of Governors meeting.

2018 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

UDPATE Sep. 9: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed that December will be the earliest the Board of Governors would vote on Seattle in an interview with the Associated Press.

It seems only a short time ago that majority owner David Bonderman took the podium and introduced Tod Leiweke as the Chief Executive Officer of our future NHL franchise. A lot was said during that press conference which made the entire process feel very real — especially considering the damage we did with season ticket deposits.

One remark that really grabbed the hockey world’s attention was the group’s expectation that a conditional approval would be granted by the league in June with an official announcement coming in September.

”There is a board meeting of the NHL in June and we would expect to have a sort of conditional approval at that point,” explained Bonderman. “It might not be termed in those words but a go-ahead green light aiming towards a September board meeting.”

A lot has changed since then, but nothing for the worse and everything still appears to be on track for a 2020 inaugural season.

According to a league source, the NHL is not prepared to award a “soft” or “conditional” approval and will only entertain expansion after they complete the various tasks and fulfill the necessary requirements. The board will only vote on a complete application and is currently on standby for a presentation from the Oak View Group.

Leiweke gave some insight into when that presentation will occur during a press conference held on Wednesday in which they welcomed new investors David and Jeff Wright, Adrian Hanauer, Andy Jassy, Chris and Ted Ackerley, and Jay Deutsch.

”On October 2nd, we are going to stand in front of the executive committee of the National Hockey League and again present our case. That executive committee will ultimately be followed by a full board meeting.”

This presentation is key and will likely feature additional information regarding the Seattle market and their arena plans along with revenue projections. League expansion traditionally involves three-phases but it is unclear at this time if Seattle is following the same process.

”We’re preparing a six-minute video and we’re going to orchestrate this carefully,” stated Leiweke during his first episode of Tuesdays with Tod. “We’re going to stand up in front of these owners and say we belong in this league.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan will join the group as they pitch their game plan to the executive committee.

If all goes well, there will be a final vote during Decembers Board of Governors meeting as bylaws require a full vote. There is always the possibility that a decision is made earlier but I think we can safely assume there will be an announcement in December. I was told by the league this morning that they do not yet have a set date for the meeting but that we can expect the first week of the month. Historically the 7th and 8th.

There is a lot that needs to be accomplished between now and then, such as the all-important city council vote in later this month, but things are looking up. Once the league grants an expansion to the city, we will then be able to focus on the fun stuff — a team identity is expected to be unveiled in the Spring.