Just as he helped bring Seattle soccer back to the top division, Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer has now successfully done something similar with hockey, as the NHL formally approved its 32nd team on Tuesday. The still unnamed Seattle team will begin play in 2021-22 when Key Arena will be fully refurbished and ready to host games.
Unlike his role with the Sounders, though, Hanauer will likely be more of a silent partner. Hanauer has a minority stake in a group that also includes Tod Leiweke and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
In a conversation with Sounder at Heart in September, Hanauer said his NHL ownership responsibilities would likely be limited to a dozen or so hours’ worth of meetings a year and that the Sounders would remain his main focus. Hanauer did express some hope there would be ways the two organizations could work together, especially in the fields of sports science and analytics.
This will be the second top division hockey team to call Seattle home, but the first since the Seattle Metropolitans closed shop in 1924. That team won the Stanley Cup in 1917 and was competing for the 1919 title against Montreal when the series was called off while tied at 2 games apiece, due an outbreak of the Spanish flu.
The Seattle Totems won an NHL expansion bid in 1974, but after missing several deadlines the bid was revoked in 1975. Since then, various minor league teams have existed in and around Seattle, including the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips, who both currently play in the Western Hockey League.