Tod Leiweke will be the CEO and president of Seattle Hockey, the group that has been authorized to redevelop KeyArena and bring an NHL team to the city.

A news conference is set for Wednesday in Seattle.

Leiweke was formerly COO of the NFL before leaving the job in March. He worked at the NFL for three years. Before that, Leiweke was the CEO of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Leiweke’s brother, Tim, is CEO of the Oak View Group, which is spearheading the NHL to Seattle project. The other partners are investment banker David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

The OVG reached a deal with the city of Seattle for $600 million to renovate KeyArena. As a hockey venue, it is expected to seat about 17,000. In March, the group launched a season-ticket drive and said it reached 25,000 deposits within the first hour. That exceeds the goal of 10,000 deposits — which was reached in the first 12 minutes.

In February, the OVG submitted paperwork, including a $10 million down payment, to the NHL to be its 32nd franchise. The league is likely to accept the bid, pending results of the season-ticket drive.

The Vegas Golden Knights in 2015 ran a season-ticket drive that received 5,000 deposits in the first two days. Vegas entered the NHL for the 2017-18 season after paying a $500 million expansion fee.

The NHL has set the fee for Seattle at $650 million, and the goal is for Seattle to enter the NHL for the 2020-21 season.

Once again, Seattle’s group is proving it is well ahead of schedule. Vegas didn’t hire its president, Kerry Bubolz, until October 2016 — one year before puck drop.


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