Up until recently, the biggest mystery in the NHL surrounded the league’s newest expansion team in Seattle. Now, the team is holding off announcing major details as the NHL deals with a suspended season in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
NHL Seattle was on track to reveal its official name and team colors by the end of this month and begin collecting payment from premium seat owners. However, the franchise is putting all that on hold for the time being as uncertainty clouds the league.
“As we face this challenging situation, our greatest priority is keeping safe and supporting each other. Recognizing these unprecedented times, I want to share some of our plans,” said NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke in an official release. “We are deferring payments due in April, May and June for those who purchased premium seating. We will wait to begin general seat selection and we look for the right time to reveal our team name and brand. We recognize the excitement around this, and we appreciate your patience.”
NHL Seattle’s move to defer payments from premium seat holders mirrors some NFL teams that have opted to extend the payment deadline for season ticket holders in the wake of the current climate. There is no definitive timeline as to when more details about the team will emerge as the NHL season is currently halted until further notice. In announcing the season’s suspension, Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league’s “goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent,” in hopes of completing the season and awarding the Stanley Cup.
Seattle has been one of the hardest hit markets when it comes to COVID-19. It reported some of the first known cases in the U.S. and to date, Washington state has recorded 74 deaths, the most in the country. Local sports teams and entertainers were among the first to halt their operations in the wake of the virus, with the Mariners intending to relocate their home games prior to the MLB’s hiatus and native rockers Pearl Jam using the scenes in Seattle as reason for postponing their Gigaton Tour.