NHL Expansion to Seattle? Imminent?

By: Evan S. Haines

The Seattle T-Birds may have some company very soon.

The Seattle T-Birds may have some company very soon.

There has been a lot of rumblings about the NHL expanding and the Seattle might be at the top of the NHL’s list. Seattle NHL fans almost got their wish when the Phoenix Coyotes looked like they were on the move last summer, but the Glendale, Arizona city council voted to a extend the Jobing.com arena lease last July. I remember watching the proceeding in the City Council meeting, waiting with bated breath for a decision to be made. Despite the financial issues and hardships the city of Glendale, city officials still found it appropriate to take a gamble on the Coyotes. We’ll see how that will play out, but the situation in Phoenix is not a good one.

Glendale. AZ City Council approves Arena Lease

Enough of that, back to the positive news. Investigative reporter of the Seattle Times, Geoff Baker has some very interesting news about the NHL and city of Seattle’s on-again off-again pursuit for one another.

Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daily quotes:

“When that happens, I think Seattle will certainly be an intriguing marketplace from the league’s perspective,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says. “I think we have a belief in the Pacific Northwest. It being good hockey territory. I think, obviously, the Canucks have done a fantastic job — in Vancouver, but also throughout British Columbia and the Pacific region — at driving interest in the sport.

“So, we think the possibility is there. It’s kind of more obvious than some of the other areas. It doesn’t mean we’ve done our due diligence. We’d need to satisfy ourselves on the marketplace, but just the objective factors around the marketplace suggest Seattle would be a good hockey market.”

Geoff Baker, Seattle Times: NHL Says Seattle would be a “good hockey market”

The Score: Daly: Seattle an intriguing marketplace for NHL expansion

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Seattle makes perfect sense, I have always been dumbfounded why the NHL has not set roots in Seattle. The city has the 12th ranked media/television market, and already has strong hockey roots. Seattle in fact has a Stanley Cup, The Seattle Metropolitans won the Cup in 1917. The Seattle Thunderbirds, who reside in Kent draw good attendance.  Seattle has a proposed arena deal that is just waiting for participants in NBA and NHL franchises. California businessman and Seattle Native Chris Hansen almost nabbed the Sacramento Kings for Seattle last spring. That would have been huge, because Hansen has said that construction on a new SODO arena will not happen until he and his ownership group, (which includes Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer) have locked up a NBA franchise.

Chris Hansen's proposed SODO arena set up for hockey.

Chris Hansen’s proposed SODO arena set up for hockey.

The scuttlebutt is that Seattle is atop the NHL’s list of possible expansion destinations. The others that have been talked about are Quebec City, Markham Ontario, Hamilton Ontario, Kansas City, and possibly Saskatoon. The NHL team/conference alignment currently is unbalanced, the Eastern Conference has 16 teams, while the Western Conference has 14 teams.  So, western expansion logistically makes the most sense. My ideal scenario would be Seattle expansion, and perhaps Quebec City or Kansas City. The articles from both Baker and the Score said that a possible announcement of Seattle NHL expansion could come as soon as the Winter Olympics in Sochi end. 2014 has started out swimmingly for Seattle sports fans, the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII, the Mariners signed superstar Robinson Cano, Seattle sports villain NBA Commissioner David Stern retired, and could a NHL franchise be heading to Seattle? That would be stupendous news for Seattle, if it in fact this happens. All that is left to do is wait, and see what unfolds in the coming days in months.

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One thought on “NHL Expansion to Seattle? Imminent?

  1. Seattle Puck Fans

    SEATTLE IS GETTING AN NHL TEAM. It will be an expansion team not the relocation of a struggling franchise. I heard the “After the Olympics” from 2 different sources but it’s my belief that an announcement happens in the July timeframe. Seattle has 241K “Avid Hockey Fans and you can read more about it here http://www.seattlepuckfans.com. That number is higher than 4 existing NHL Franchises. I also have a poll of “What Type of Hockey Fan are you” and as of this morning 52% of respondents would either buy seasons tickets or attend a game when their favorite team was in town. ALSO interesting is that 46% say they are Seattle SPORT fans and would support a NHL team if they came. NOW IS THE TIME TO HELP GROW THE COMMUNITY. :)

    Reply

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