Welcome to the awkward stage of NHL expansion. Every team goes through it, ours happens to be a little stretched out. We have a GM in place but no coach. The arena at Seattle Center is in rebuild mode yet the team branding is a great unknown.
We sit on the edge of our seat in anticipation but all we receive are little teasers to keep our attention.
The reason we aren’t hearing much news is, well – everyone’s busy piecing together an NHL franchise. It’s a fragile process with many steps.
In fact, the expansion fee is still outstanding. But don’t panic, the tab will be paid off by May of 2021.
So what’s going on behind closed doors?
NHL Seattle is perfecting a brand
NHL Seattle secured an envelope containing the final five names into a time capsule. One which won’t open until the Space Needles 100th birthday in 2062.
Luckily for us, we won’t have to wait that long.
“They have a few selections left, and it’s a question of trying to come up with a logo to match the names and see what everybody’s comfortable with,” GM Ron Francis told Sportsnet Canada. “Once they get to that point, then they’ll trademark it and make sure we’re protected.”
The team has made it clear that an announcement is likely coming during the first quarter of 2020. With that said, Emily Kaplan of ESPN has reported that we won’t hear one during the NHL All-Star break.
If there is one person who has been right all along, it’s her.
So what about tickets?
A few reports have mentioned the front office is considering dropping the traditional 82-game season ticket packages. I’m told the opposite by a source close to the situation.
The team is currently brainstorming ways to get as many fans to games as possible through creative offerings, but traditional packages are here to stay. What they are wire-framing is unclear but I’ll step out on a limb here and say we’ll like what we see.
The group has taken a very systemic approach at every step and this is no different.
So the back-end is in motion, but what about the team?
Six professional scouts are on the payroll and have started to lay the groundwork. Mock drafts – yes, like preparing for the fantasy football season – are underway using in-house software. Again, like fantasy football, it’s less about the available players and more having a strategy in place.
More staff is on the way, with amateur scouts coming in the summer to prepare for the 2021 draft. The World Juniors kick off in Prague on December 26th and you better believe NHL Seattle will be in attendance.
So what’s next?
We wait. But let me tell you, the wait will be worth it.