The NHL's new franchise in Seattle may not take the ice until the 2020-2021 season. But their home building, KeyArena, is already getting a makeover as it prepares to host professional hockey.
Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon -- who played at KeyArena when he was 16 -- saw the refurbishments taking place himself just a few months ago.
"I went down to a couple Seattle Mariners games this summer when I was back in Vancouver and they were already starting the renovations on KeyArena," the British Columbia native said, who also played for the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds for four seasons before joining the Dallas Stars organization in 2011.
Dillon told NBC Sports California he used to make the trek down to Washington as a young player before living in Bellevue while playing for Seattle. He spent four seasons with the T-Birds, serving as captain in his final season before being signed by the Dallas organization. He registered 94 points (11 goals, 83 assists) and 362 penalty minutes over 280 games with Seattle.
In addition to being in a great location, Dillon complimented the overall Seattle sports scene. "Sports are alive and well up there in the Pacific Northwest," he said. "Really cool arena, right in the downtown heart of things, right by the Space Needle."
"It's great if you're going down there for a bite to eat with your family or your buddies before a game," Dillon continued. "It's going to be a great entertainment area."
The new Seattle franchise is set to join the Pacific Division, just as the Vegas Golden Knights did prior to last season. VGK shattered the expectations set for expansion teams by steamrolling their opponents and reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. This, of course, adds extra intrigue to the yet-to-be-named Seattle team's maiden voyage.
Dillon says adding the team in Seattle will add another dimension to the division and will hopefully have the same fan appeal the Golden Knights were able to generate.
"Hopefully they have some success just like Vegas did and build that fanbase," he said. "It's going to be a great place to play hockey."