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New NHL Seattle consultant Dave Tippett: Hockey will ‘boom’ in Seattle

Dave Tippett has 14 years of coaching experience with the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes, two of the more non-traditional markets in the NHL. Now the newest consultant for the NHL Seattle group that is in pursuit of an expansion major league hockey franchise, Tippett knows what happens when the league comes to a new area and takes off.

Former Coyotes captain Shane Doan on new NHL Seattle member Tippett

“Once you get the team, once you get going, people get energized and you get kids starting to play and you grow the game,” Tippett told Brock and Salk on Thursday morning. “I think that’s one of the key things here. There is a lot of kids that play here, but this is gonna be a boom to hockey. The game will sell itself. It’s amazing about that – you go to a few games, you’ll get hooked.”

Tippett, 56, is a hockey lifer, having grown up in Saskatchewan and playing 11 years in the NHL before his beginning his coaching career. He sees the potential for a strong fan base in the Seattle area, and the recent success of the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights – who reached the Stanley Cup Finals in their first year of play – was a factor in him finding his way onto the NHL Seattle team.

“It’s ready for hockey,” Tippett said of Seattle, “and the NHL would love to have a franchise up here just logistically-wise with being on the west coast, add a 32nd team. There’s lots of positives going into it. … I’d be lying to you telling you (Las Vegas’ success) didn’t (play a factor) … just seeing how much fun that organization was having. You see a team like that, it’s really a team. Ownership to management to coaches to players, they’re all on the same page, and they’re winning, which makes it fun. You just look at the tightness of that group and that’s what we all strive for in sports. That’s the fun part of it.”

It didn’t take Tippett too much effort to convince his wife on coming to Seattle – they have a daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren that live in Bremerton – and it sounds like it could turn into a long-term situation for him.

“(NHL Seattle CEO Todd Leiweke) and I have talked about if things move the right way to some kind of executive job with the team moving forward, and we’ll see how that goes,” he said. “We’ve talked about not taking the coaching part of it off the table but I’m not sure – I didn’t come here to be the coach of the team, I came here to help build it.”

As for what that building process may entail: “There’s lots of infrastructure we have to do with the KeyArena, possibly a practice facility and then going to find an American (Hockey) League team (to serve as a farm club). The building process is something that really intrigues me so here I am.”

You watch Tippett’s full in-studio interview in the included video, or hear the segment in this podcast of Brock and Salk’s Thursday show.

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