New Seattle NHL team is already taking shots at the Canucks

Apr 11 2018, 8:45 pm

They don’t have a team yet, but the group trying to bring the NHL to Seattle already has a team president.

And an attitude.

Tod Leiweke, brother of former Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, was named CEO and president of the would-be NHL team on Wednesday.

“It is an incredible thrill to come home,” said Tod, a former CEO with the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders, at his introductory press conference.

Leiweke also has NHL experience, having previously spent time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Minnesota Wild, and Vancouver Canucks front offices.

But while at this point Vancouver just seems excited about having a new team to play down the road (Seattle is expected to be officially granted a new NHL franchise in June, to begin play in 2020), representatives from the Emerald City are already talking tough.

“I can’t wait until we play the Canucks. I’m throwing it down right now, we are going to bring it that night.”

“I think Seattle’s connection to Vancouver could be quite a remarkable thing,” Leiweke continued. “I think it could open up a whole new gateway. Not just for fans, but for these two cities to find some commonality.

“It’s one of the things I’m going to ask the coach: ‘Look, I know you’re always going to go 100%, but that one night can you go 101%?'”

The new president’s comments pale in comparison to Seattle’s trash-talking mayor, who has been running her mouth since the Seattle Center Arena proposal was approved.

“The Canucks are excited to come here and get beat,” said mayor Jenny Durkan last December.

Even the expansion group’s official Twitter account is getting in on the action.

These are just lighthearted jabs, of course, though they do seem a bit premature, as I’ll remind you: they don’t even have a team yet!

But in light of the success of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, I guess Seattle has reason to be confident. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said that the expansion rules, which allowed Vegas to win the Pacific Division in their first season, would be kept the same for Seattle.

Separated by just 230 kilometres, the rivalry between Vancouver and Seattle has been relatively muted when it comes to pro sports, save for the Whitecaps and Sounders since Vancouver joined MLS in 2011. An I-5 rivalry between a pair of NHL teams has the potential to take it to the next level.

I mean, how cool would this be:

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