There is some interesting news this week concerning the NHL possibly moving the Phoenix Coyotes to Seattle this week. More from the Vancouver Sun:
That was the puck chatter north and south of the border, after an article appeared in the Seattle Times over the weekend, stating talks between city staff and San Francisco multimillionaire Christopher Hansen about building a new arena near Safeco Field were underway, and that “National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman has expressed a strong interest in placing a team in Seattle, leading to widespread speculation that the financially struggling Phoenix Coyotes could be moved here.”
Of course, talk of the Coyotes moving is nothing new. People have been talking about Phoenix moving for about four years now. But there has to be a limit to the amount of money the NHL is willing to lose on the team, especially if a new/better market is available.
I have always thought that Seattle would be a great place for an NHL team given how well they support their other sports teams, the climate and their hockey history. The Seahawks, Mariners and Sonics (when they had them) did very well, all things considered. Their MLS team, the Sounders, is a model franchise. Seattle is also home to a WHL franchise, and has been for a very long time.
The possibility of Seattle getting a team has always been a pipe dream in years’ past, seeing as how they don’t have a suitable NHL arena. The Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL played out of the Key Arena, but they had to creatively fit the ice in. When I saw a game there in the 90s, the seats behind one of the nets had to be removed. Essentially, one third of the arena’s seats is not usable for hockey.
Seattle is an excellent basketball city, but they won’t get their beloved Sonics back unless they get a new arena. If/when this happens, they will surely make the arena compatible for hockey this time around.
There’s no guarantee that the NHL would work, but it would have to be better than Phoenix or Atlanta. I think it could be as successful as San Jose as a franchise, but they should approach it in the right way. If the NHL could move into Seattle before the NBA, that would go a long way. If that isn’t possible, they probably would be wise to wait a couple of years, so to not get overshadowed by the more established NBA.
If Seattle did get an NHL team, why not name them the “Metropolitans”, after the Seattle team that won the Stanley Cup in 1917. That would be a pretty slick nickname. They might want to redesign their uniforms though.
Of course, selfishly as a Vancouverite, I would love to see Seattle get a team. Getting to see the Canucks on the road only three hours down the road? Fantastic. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one making a trip or two down the I-5 each season.
What would be interesting to see is if Vancouverites would make the trip to Seattle to see other teams play. Tickets would surely be considerably cheaper and easier to obtain. Fans north of the border would get more opportunities to see Sidney Crosby (assuming he plays again) and Alex Ovechkin (assuming he regains his superstardom again) play. And what about all the Leafs fans that live in Vancouver? They wouldn’t pass up another chance to see their team play, would they? There’s also a few Flames, Oilers and Habs fans in this town that would be salivating at the thought of seeing their team more often.
So make it happen Gary Bettman! Oh, and make it happen rich guy who might build the arena.