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Seattle NHL expansion team aiming to name coach offseason before debut

Could hire sooner than 2021 if GM Francis targets someone

by Mike Battaglino / Staff Writer

The Seattle NHL expansion team plans to hire its coach the offseason before it begins play in the 2021-22 season, CEO Tod Leiweke said Thursday.

"Well, probably the summer before," Leiweke said when asked during a Facebook Live AMA (ask me anything). "That's when [general manager Ron Francis] will weigh in. I think he'll be opportunistic if somebody were out there that he felt was the perfect coach and for whatever reason he felt we needed to bring him in sooner, but I think we showed with Ron Francis that we're willing to do things early if it helps makes us better."

Seattle was approved as the NHL's 32nd team on Dec. 4, and Francis was hired as GM on July 18. Alexandra Mandrycky became director of hockey administration July 1.


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"We hired Ron faster than any expansion team has ever hired their GM," Leiweke said. "We hired him fully two years out, and I'm thrilled to do it. It's early on with Ron, but he and Alex are just doing a terrific job of getting us set up, and we'll make full use of this extra year we'll have."

Dave Tippett, a senior adviser to Seattle since June 2018, was named coach of the Edmonton Oilers this May 28.

"Tod and I talked about the possibility of maybe coaching in Seattle, but I don't think that's fair to them that I would sit out four or five years and then come back," Tippett told The Seattle Times on May 31. "I'm just not sure I would want to do it after four years. And to wait that long and be out is just too long to be away from it."

Seattle is expected to select players in the NHL Expansion Draft and NHL Draft in June 2021 and is scheduled to begin play for the 2021-22 season, a year later than first thought. The expansion draft is expected to have the same rules as the Vegas Golden Knights did when they joined the NHL for the 2017-18 season.

Tweet from @NHLSeattle_: We���re live with #NHLSeattle CEO Tod Leiweke for today���s AMA! Tune in >

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