Just a day before the Seattle Thunderbirds open the 2017-2018 season, the club dropped a bit of a bombshell Friday afternoon.
Current owner and general manager Russ Farwell announced via a press release that the ownership group had agreed, in principal, to sell the WHL franchise to Dan and Lindsey Leckelt. The Leckelt’s, who are brothers, are Co-Ceo’s of Silent-Aire, an engeenring and data center equipment manufacturing company with operations in Edmonton, Phoenix, Seattle, Virginia, and Dublin.
The sale of the franchise is pending league and City of Kent approval. The WHL Board of Governors will be meeting in Calgary on October 4th where the sale of the Thunderbirds will be reviewed.
“We look forward to the opportunity to secure the approval of the City of Kent and the WHL Board of Governors and become part of the WHL,” Dan Leckelt said via a press release. “The Thunderbirds franchise is respected as one of the top Major Junior franchises in the CHL and we are committed to contributing to the growth of hockey in the greater Seattle area.”
Farwell, along with Thunderbirds’ vice-president Colin Campbell have been at the helm of the club for the past 19 years and the press release indicated that they will be remaining with the club in their respective roles.
The Leckelts studied at the University of Calgary and have ownerships stakes in the Stony Plain Eagles – a men’s AAA senior team in Alberta – and the Spruce Grove Jr. Saints of the Alberta Junior hockey league.
The Thunderbirds indicated that they would not be making any further comments until after the sale of the franchise was final. Seattle opens the new season Saturday night with a match up against the Tri City Americans at the ShoWare Center in Kent.