Seattle's NHL expansion bid creates bigger buzz than Vegas – USA TODAY


Alex Ovechkin on March 12 became the 20th NHL player to net 600 goals. USA TODAY Sports

In this computer drawing provided by the Oak View Group, the planned appearance of the interior of a remodeled KeyArena in shown in Seattle.(Photo: AP)

When Seattle Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Marilyn Strickland saw a 20-by-20 NHL flag raised atop the city’s iconic Space Needle, she viewed it as the sign that there’s a new game in town.

“There’s a buzz,” Strickland said. “When you say, ‘25,000 season-ticket deposits (sold) in one hour,’ people talk about that. There’s a civic pride and an enthusiasm. … People may not necessarily be hardcore fans of the sport, but they want to be caught up in the event.”

The NHL is still reviewing Seattle’s expansion application, but it would be hard to say no to a city that had deposits on 10,000 season tickets in the first 12 minutes on March 1. Sales were cut off at 32,000. It’s still undetermined how many season tickets will be issued, but the ownership group has committed to giving at least some tickets to all 32,000.

“I can remember trying to get 12,000 season tickets (as an expansion team) 20 years ago, and that was hard,” Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said. “Seattle feels like they could be sold out on day one and for the foreseeable future. It’s unreal.”

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The Vegas Golden Knights, considered an expansion success story, needed two days to reach 5,000 tickets and a month to reach 9.000.

“Hockey is bigger (in Seattle) than people think,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of the

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