NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, back right, and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, left, talk with reporters Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, following a news conference in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Bettman: Seattle to host NHL draft and All-Star weekend

City to host All-Star weekend within first seven seasons, with team slated to start play in 2021-22

On his first trip to Seattle since the city was granted the NHL’s 32nd franchise, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced a couple more rewards for the future franchise’s investment.

Bettman said the league has promised Seattle it will host All-Star weekend within its first seven seasons, with the team slated to begin play in 2021-22. Bettman also says Seattle will host the NHL draft, and that event will likely be awarded before the All-Star Game arrives.

“It doesn’t mean we are going to wait seven years,” Bettman said. “We’re going to be bringing league events here. This is where we want to be.”

Bettman’s unexpected and informal announcement was part of his first visit to Seattle since the franchise was approved by the league’s Board of Governors in early December. Bettman met with members of the ownership group, political leaders in the city, fans who have placed deposits on season tickets and reviewed the status of the massive renovation of the arena at Seattle Center where the team will play.

To 32 and beyond: Seattle may not be end of NHL expansion

Seattle’s ownership group has put up over $1.5 billion in expansion fees, upgrades to the building formerly known as KeyArena, and a state-of-the-art practice facility that is expected to open in time to host the first training camp.

“If you talk about in terms of kicking the tires, the tires are in great shape,” Bettman said. “We couldn’t be more excited. When the board made the decision to come to Seattle, we knew it was the right decision, it would be a great decision and everything that has transpired has not only lived up to expectation but has exceeded our expectations.”

The franchise initially hoped to open for the 2020 season, but it is using the additional year to ensure the arena is operational well ahead of the team’s home opener. It also gives the team more time to put together its hockey staff.

The team still doesn’t have a name or colour scheme. Bettman said the league would mostly stay out of the selection process, aside from working with the Seattle franchise in colours, trademarks and other logistical parts of the expansion name. Seattle team president and CEO Tod Leiweke said the goal is to have a name announced by the middle of 2019. The franchise will be taking major input from fans that have put deposits down on season tickets.

Leiweke said the team’s goal is to have a portal launched within the next 60 days for season-ticket depositors to provide feedback and to inform them of the timeframe for decisions and announcements moving forward.

“If I have my way, their fingerprints are going to be all over this franchise. Certainly a team name, but they’re going to help us build this,” Leiweke said.

Some fans are hoping to see a return of the Seattle Metropolitans — a historic name in Seattle, since the Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917. That name might be off the table, though, since the NHL has a division with that name.

Bettman was asked if that name can be ruled out.

“Viscerally, yes,” he said, “but I never say never to anything.”

Tim Booth, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

African Children’s Choir making a difference in the world

Waroto Children’s Choir celebrate Christ and caring for community on six month world tour

Snowpack at normal levels, but El Niño is lurking

Despite a warmer than usual winter that has produced a dearth of… Continue reading

Letter: New party with a strong platform could form majority government in B.C.

Voters fed up with BC’s political parties open the door for a new party to enter BC politics

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Man, 31, charged in Cache Creek fatal shooting

Corey Richard Harkness appeared on one count of murder in provincial court in Kamloops

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read