Seattle City Council Approves Oakview Group MOU

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Seattle A Step Closer to the NHL

The City of Seattle takes one step closer to becoming an NHL town. In a unanimous vote of 5-0, the Seattle City Council Special Committee on Civic Arenas approved the Oakview Group (OVG) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU outlines the OVG proposal for a $600 million renovation of Seattle’s Key Arena. The vote keeps the Oakview Group, led by Tim Lieweke, on track for a full vote on December 4.

The MOU Vote

The vote today and the finalization of the amendments allow the final vote to take place without delay. A full approval will pave the way for OVG to implement their timeline. The timeline, originally leaked by council member Mike O’Brien, aims for an October 2020 completion date. Despite this not being a done deal, this is an important milestone for OVG. Because they hope to have the venue NHL ready at that time. However, there is no commitment from the NHL regarding a relocation or expansion team. Lieweke and his team are confident that they can achieve that goal. While that might be possible, it is a tough road.

The NHL is constantly in the process of evaluating a number of cities for expansion or relocation. Amongst the cities for possible expansion or relocation are Quebec City, Houston, and Seattle. Houston and Quebec City currently have NHL ready arenas. As such they are likely candidates for relocation. A Seattle team would bring parity to the league with another team in the West and a 32nd team.

In addition, regarding an NHL tenant, City council consultant David Stone said in the Seattle Times that OVG is highly incentivized to add an NHL team to increase incremental revenue.

OVG aims to complete environmental impact statement by the end of the year. This allows for construction to begin. If so, the remodeled facility would be complete in time for the 2020 season.

Good Show Of Support By Hockey Community

The council meeting was attended by a large number of the Seattle hockey community. They came to show their support for the OVG plan. Additionally, they voiced their love of the game. Addressing the council regarding what the addition of an NHL team would mean to them and Seattle. Amongst the crowd was 3 girls ranging in age from 4-9. Each of them and their parents, clad in Washington Wild Female Hockey jerseys addressed the council. However, as they did one of the girls held a photo of her youth hockey team. The gesture was met with cheers from the crowd and smiles from the council. The attendance indicates that Seattle is a viable hockey market. It remains to be seen if Seattle can renovate the arena and acquire a team.

The full council will vote on the proposal December 4.



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