SEATTLE — The ownership group looking to bring an expansion NHL team to Seattle unveiled plans Monday for a $70 million training facility in the northern part of the city.
NHL Seattle CEO Tod Lewieke announced the plans, which include three full-sized rinks and office space to serve as the headquarters for the proposed new franchise. The facility will have 180,000 square feet total and be located near Seattle’s Northgate Mall, which is being redeveloped. The location is a short walk from a new light-rail station set to open in a few years and has easy access to Interstate 5.
”We have an incredible opportunity to make Seattle the epicenter of hockey in the Pacific Northwest and our ownership has given us the ability to take a big, big step today,” Leiweke said. ”This is a major commitment. We’re investing lots of money in KeyArena, we’re acquiring a team we hope, and this is another major financial commitment that our owners are making to try and grow the game, build the game and have impact.”
The expansion bid by Seattle appears to be set for final approval by the NHL Board of Governors in early December. The board’s executive committee gave a unanimous recommendation last week in New York to move ahead with approving Seattle’s bid to become the league’s 32nd team.
The hope is Seattle will be ready to join the league for the 2020-21 season, assuming construction stays on schedule for the $700 million renovation of KeyArena. The venue hosted its final scheduled event last Friday, when the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings met in an NBA preseason game, and the renovation could begin in the coming weeks.
The proposed training facility would have one rink with seating for 1,000 and two rinks each with seating for 400. The NHL Seattle group also expects the building to be a hub for growing youth programs in the area. Lance Lopes of NHL Seattle noted similar facilities are under construction or nearing completion in St. Louis; San Jose, California; and Anaheim, California.
”This is a trend across the country to build these multiplex facilities with a training facility as well,” Lopes said.