NHL's welcome gifts to Seattle: Draft, All-Star Game … soon

Big things are coming to Seattle.

While touring the site intended for the expansion team’s practice facility on Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman promised to bring major events to the city once the $850 million renovation of KeyArena is finished.

“We’ve promised an All-Star Game to Seattle within seven years of playing,” Bettman said, via The Seattle Times. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to wait seven years. We’ve got to look at scheduling — both ours and in terms of the city’s availability to host all of our guests in our hotels and everything. But we’re going to be bringing big events here. This is where we want to be.”

Bettman added: “We’re looking at when it would be appropriate to bring the draft here. Obviously, we need to have an expansion draft, so we’re looking at the possibility.”

The NHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve expansion to Seattle last month, with the league’s 32nd team set to start play in the 2021-22 season.

Bettman met with members of the future team’s ownership group, additional prospective investors and Mayor Jenny Durkan during his visit before holding his afternoon press conference at the Space Needle, where he also propositioned the possibility of an outdoor game should the dreary Seattle weather cooperate.