VANCOUVER - Everyone was Seattle dreamin' on Friday afternoon as NHL Seattle President and CEO Tod Leiweke and Principal Owner Jerry Bruckheimer met with nearly 100 media members before the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft began. An early question addressed the topic on every fan's mind: What's the timeline for the team name?
"Our timeline is to get it right," said Leiweke. "It's a complicated world. There's lots of trademark restrictions out there and names already taken. And part of it is, the longer we're going as an enterprise, the more we know what we stand for and the more we know what we don't stand for. And it's really helping inform that. I think as anxious as people are to have us wear a name on our chest, taking our time is going to serve us well in getting it right."
Another urgent question for us dreamers: Will NHL Seattle host the 2021 Draft?
"We don't get ahead of the League," said Leiweke. "We didn't assume we'd get that 32nd franchise, and we're not going to make any assumptions about the Draft. But we've clearly indicated it's something we think would be a fabulous way to start our franchise."
Leiweke and Bruckheimer both emphasized to the packed media scrum that there is no renovation of Key Arena, but that the New Arena at Seattle Center will be brand-new. Only the historic roof stays. The old arena has already been demolished and excavation starts in July to dig down another 15 feet plus a much wider hole to allow a doubling of space for seats, concessions, back-of-the-house services and much more.
"Two years from now you can judge for yourself, but we think we're building one of the greatest buildings in the world," Leiweke said. "Perhaps in two years we'll be hosting a very similar conference like this, and instead of projecting that we're going to have one of the most beautiful buildings, you're going to be asking us questions, saying, 'Wow. How did this happen?'"
Bruckheimer was equally enthusiastic about the New Arena, which he assures will have the "old-time arena intimacy" to go with the technological breakthroughs for fans.
"We're excited to show this building to the world, because it's really spectacular," said Bruckheimer, who instantly fell in love with the sport as young boy after attending his first Detroit Red Wings game in the 1950s.
As a Hollywood producer and ultimate showman, Bruckheimer is a highly reliable source for our 2021 dreams of the arena and team.
"We're sitting on something that you haven't seen yet," he said, "but I'm really proud of it and can't wait for everybody to see it."