NHL commissioner Gary Bettman denied rumors that a vote on Seattle’s application for an expansion team could take place as early as next month, but said the NHL board of governors will address the situation “in the fall or early winter at the latest.”
“We just haven’t gotten the train to the station on time,” Bettman said before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday. “The fact is, and I know there’s been a lot of speculation, that somehow there’s going to be a vote of some sort, conditional or otherwise, at the June board meeting. That is absolutely not true.”
The Oak View investment group officially submitted its application for a team in February, along with a $10 million down payment toward the $650 million expansion fee. The group is in charge of the $600 million renovation of KeyArena in Seattle, which has yet to begin but is planned to be completed by the fall of 2020.
“There are a number of bases we have to touch, a lot of due diligence that has to be done,” Bettman said. “A lot of interaction with the prospective ownership group, David Bonderman’s group, and so we think we’re on target, and depending on how everything goes, it wouldn’t surprise me that there is a possibility that in the fall, early winter at the latest, that this could be addressed by the board. But we’re not there yet, and there’s still work to be done.”
The addition of a team in Seattle would give the NHL 32 teams and balance out the conferences. There are currently 15 Western Conference teams with the Vegas Golden Knights added and 16 in the Eastern Conference.
Oak View said it received 33,000 season-ticket deposits for the 2020-21 season in less than 48 hours in March, with the first 10,000 received in a matter of minutes, temporarily bringing the computer system down.
“There’s never really been a timetable, so I don’t view us to be behind anything,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “Really, again, it’s really their timetable with respect to how quickly they want to move this.”
—Field Level Media