Ice Hockey Wiki

A montage of Seattle.

Seattle is a city in the northwestern part of the state of Washington. It is the largest city in the state and state capital and largest city in the region.

The skyline of downtown Seattle

Seattle has a population of

745,949 and a metropolitan area of over 5,000,000.

NHL Aspirations[]

Shattered Hopes[]

In April 1974, the city had been awarded a conditional National Hockey League expansion franchise for the 1976-1977 season which never came to fruition. The team was tentatively called the Seattle Totems after the long time Western Hockey League team in the city.

A bid was put in for an expansion franchise in 1990 as part of the league's expansion process that increased the league from 21 to 26 teams. Financial terms with the NHL were at issue (the $50 million expansion fee); the major problem was the Seattle Supersonics basketball team not being willing to share in suite revenues. This essentially doomed the bid as the team would not be in a position to be competitive financially.

Seattle was not even on the table when expansion came up in the late 1990's when the league expanded to 30 teams as the KeyArena had been renovated in 1994-95 to accommodate the Supersonics and made NHL level hockey unfeasible as the score board was significantly off centered and the positioning of the chairs would lead to many lower level seats being curtained off. This was also a major factor in the Seattle Thunderbirds leaving the arena in 2009.

On October 1, 2012, Daryl Katz, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League had meetings with city officials to discuss the possibility of the the Oilers franchise relocating to recently approved arena to be built in the hopes of luring a National Basketball Association and/or a National Hockey League team to the city.[1]  This lead to the Oilers getting a new arena built in Edmonton but also got the ball rolling on an all out effort to attract teams for both sports to Seattle.  With its set up as of 2012 it would be "just unacceptable" to the NHL even as a temporary facility. The arena would not even host pre-season games for the NHL as the league would have games at the Tacoma Dome about 30 miles (50 km) south of Seattle. A facility was proposed in the SoDo district near Safeco Field (home of Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners but the city was more interested in an NBA team at the time and construction plans were aimed at basketball configurations and not ice hockey.[2]

In January of 2013, speculation started that the then Arizona Coyotes would be relocated to Seattle.[3] This was used to try to force the city of Glendale, Arizona to work out with an agreement on a lease with the team. It was announced that the team was sold to Ray Bartozek and Anthony Lanza and would be relocated to Seattle for the 2013-14 season.[4] However, on July 3, 2013 the Glendale City Council approved 4-3 a deal to keep the team in Glendale.[5]

In April of 2015 requests were filled to get a zoning interpretation request with the city of Tukwila, Washington about building a privately funded arena in the city which was to sit adjacent to the Tukwila Sounder commuter rail station. When the NHL opened the expansion process for the 2017-18 season no application was put in from any group for the Seattle area.[6][7]


On December 5, 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding was agreed to by the Seattle City Council on getting renovations to the KeyArena done to bring the facility up to NHL and NBA standards which is expected to cost $600 million.[8] On December 7th NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that the league is ready to consider an expansion application from Seattle. The expansion fee is expected to be $650 million. The group is lead by David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer who are working with Oak View Group on the arena. This situation appears to be an ideal opportunity to balance the league's conferences with a 16-16 split. This would still leave the league with a 21-11 split in terms of teams located on the eastern and western halves of the North American continent.[9] Based on several other reports done by NHL reporters the situation is pretty much well a done deal as the only issue appears to be when the arena will be ready. The present plan for the arena has the arena being ready for the 2020-21 season. The NHL has stated that it does not want a temporary venue for the team and will delay the start of the franchise if there are delays in construction. A season ticket drive (which should start in early 2018) appears to be a mere formality as their is a decent sized corporate and population base in the Greater Seattle area. Speculation on the name of the franchise has already started as Metropolitans, Breakers, Thunderbirds, and Totems have been mentioned as names that have a history in Seattle hockey.


On December 4, 2018, the National Hockey League approved a proposal by Seattle Hockey Partners—an ownership group led by David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Tod Leiweke—to grant an expansion franchise to the city of Seattle, Washington.

It will be the first professional team to play in Seattle since the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League played their last game in 1975. The team will play at a redeveloped version of Seattle's KeyArena, which had previously been optimized for basketball to suit the Seattle SuperSonics.


Western Hockey League (1955-1957) renamed Totems
  • Seattle Boeings
Seattle Ice Hockey League (Senior Amateur) (1942-1943) folded
  • Seattle Boilermakers
Seattle Ice Hockey League (Senior Amateur) (1942-1943) folded
Northwest International Hockey League (1943-1944) join Pacific Coast Hockey League as Stars
Pacific Coast Hockey League (1949-1950)
Western Hockey League (1953-1954) suspend operations for one year, return as Americans
Western Canada Hockey League (1977-1978) see Western Hockey League
Western Hockey League (1978-1985) renamed Thunderbirds after franchise was sold to new local ownership
Pacific Coast Hockey League (1928-1931) join North West Hockey League
North West Hockey League (1933-1936) join Pacific Coast Hockey League as Seahawks
Northwest International Hockey League (1943-1944) joins Pacific Coast Hockey League
Pacific Coast Hockey League (1944-1949) renamed Bombers
Pacific Coast Hockey League (1950-1952) join Western Hockey League as Bombers
Western Hockey League (1952-1953) renamed Bombers
(PCHA, (1915-1924) folded, causing whole league to collapse
Pacific Coast Hockey League (1940-1941) return with league as Ironmen in 1944
Pacific Coast Hockey League (1936-1940) renamed Olympics
Pacific Coast Hockey League (1944-1945) folded
Pacific Coast Hockey League (1944-1945) folded
Western Hockey League (1985-present)
Western Hockey League (1957-1974) join Central Hockey League
Central Hockey League (1974-1975) folded when city granted conditional NHL expansion team
National Hockey League (1975-1975) conditional expansion franchise, never played
Northern Pacific Hockey League (2006-2012) join Western States Hockey League
Western States Hockey League (2012-Present)


  • Key Arena (1962-Present, rebuilt 1994-1995) (also known as the Seattle Center Colisuem) used by Seattle Breakers/Thunderbirds of the WHL from its arrival in Seattle in 1977, until the end of 2008. The arena was not designed (or renovated for hockey). In July 2012 a proposal was made to use a renovated Key Arena as opposed to a new facility.  A full scale renovation to the facility was approved December 2017, which is planned to be completed in time for an NHL team for the 2020-21 hockey season.
  • Mercer Arena, previously known as the Exposition Building, the Civic Ice Arena and Seattle Center Arena (1912-Present) first used as an ice rink in 1962 by the Seattle Totems of the WHL, presently in the process of being redesigned, present plans indicate it will become the new home of the Seattle Opera
  • Seattle Ice Arena (1915-1924) as an arena, converted briefly to a roller skating rink, then into a parking garage. Torn down in 1963
  • New Seattle Arena (approved to be built in September 2012-unknown scheduled opening date) plans call for the arena to be built in the SoDo district of the city, which is the same area as the existing facilities for the Seattle Mariners of MLB and the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.  This plan was abandoned and a $600 Million renovation to the KeyArena was approved in December of 2017.
  • ShoWare Center (located in suburban Kent) home of the Seattle Thunderbirds since 2009



External Links[]