SEATTLE -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday that the league has promised the NHL All-Star game and the NHL Draft to the city of Seattle within seven years of the franchise's debut season in 2021.
Bettman, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, and NHL Seattle CEO and team president Tod Leiweke met with reporters at the Space Needle to discuss the expansion effort, which was unanimously approved by the NHL owners last month.
"We've promised an All-Star Game to Seattle within seven years of playing," Bettman said. "Doesn't mean we're going to wait seven years. ... We're going to be bringing league events here. This is where we want to be."
Leiweke then comically prodded the questioner to also ask about the likelihood of the draft coming as well.
"We're looking at when it would be appropriate to bring the draft here," Bettman said. "Obviously, we need to have an expansion draft, so we're looking at the possibilities. Nothing has been decided. I'm not making any announcement. That's a really good question even if you were put up to it (by Leiweke). Obviously, we're coming with the draft soon. Draft my guess is will be sooner than the All-Star Game."
It with Bettman and Daly's first trip to Seattle since the franchise had been awarded to the city. The trip included meeting with members of the ownership group, political leaders, fans who have placed deposits on season tickets and a survey of the KeyArena site that will house the new arena.
"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."
Leiweke said that the team will launch a portal within the next 60 days for season-ticket depositors to provide feedback and communicate further events and announcements as the team grows toward its opening campaign in 2021. Additionally, feedback will continue to be sought on the name of the team. Leiweke said that its likely a team name will be announced some time this year.
Photo Credit: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, center, joins Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, left, and Tod Leiweke, right, president and CEO of the Seattle Hockey Partners group, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, during a news conference in Seattle at the Space Needle (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)