Tod Leiweke leaving Seahawks, Blazers to return to the NHL
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Leiweke joined the Seahawks in 2003, coming to the team after Mike Holmgren was stripped of his general manager's responsibilities. Holmgren repeatedly cited Leiweke as the best thing that had happened to the Seahawks' franchise during his tenure.
In 2007, Leiweke became the head of Vulcan Sports, in charge of Paul Allen's sports holdings, which include the Seahawks, Trail Blazers and most recently a share of the Seattle Sounders in the MLS.
Leiweke was previously mentioned as a candidate for the CEO post of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he denied that was a consideration as recently as April.
Leiweke had previous experience in the NHL, working with the Minnesota Wild.
The difference now is Leiweke has an ownership interest in the Lightning, something which he said fulfills a life-long goal in the Seahawks' announcement of the move.
Leiweke served as Seahawks' CEO during the most successful run in team history as the team earned five consecutive playoff berths, won four division titles and reached its first Super Bowl.
The previous eight months have been particularly turbulent, though, starting with the resignation of Seahawks president Tim Ruskell in December 2009, then the firing of coach Jim Mora in January and hiring of Pete Carroll. Most recently, the Trail Blazers fired general manager Kevin Pritchard, replacing him with Rich Cho, a former Seattle Sonics assistant general manager.
The Seahawks' announcement of the move included a statement from Leiweke: "Paul Allen is the most fan-friendly owner in professional sports. He has built great sports franchises that have always given much back to the community. We have strong management and coaching in place in Seattle and Portland and I know the teams are in good hands."
Leiweke will continue working in his post for Vulcan Sports until his replacement is named.
The announcement included a statement from Allen, who called Leiweke a leader and for understanding the priority placed upon the fans.
"I'm sorry to see him go, but I know hockey is his first love," Allen said.
Leiweke previously worked in the NHL for both the Minnesota Wild as CEO and previously for the Vancouver Canucks.
Jeff Vinik is the majority owner of Tampa Bay's franchise. Leiweke's ownership stake was characterized as a minor one by Damian Cristodero of the St. Pete Times.The Lightning's announcement of Leiweke's hiring included a statement from Vinik.
"I am thrilled to welcome Tod to the Lightning organization as CEO and as my partner," Vinik's statement said, "Tod has the vision, the passion and the experience to lead the franchise towards my goal of being world class on and off the ice. He is an inspirational leader and I am delighted he has shown the confidence in the entire Tampa Bay community to join the Lightning."
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call