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Report: AHL owner interested in bringing NHL to Seattle

Feb 16, 2012, 2:35 PM EDT

Don Levin

David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail reports that Don Levin — owner of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves — has expressed interest in an NHL franchise for Seattle.

Levin told Shoalts that if hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen is successful in building an arena in Seattle and bringing back an NBA team, he’d be willing to get involved on the NHL front.

“If he’s successful, I’d be very happy to be involved,” Levin said. “I told [Hansen] if he has something put together I would be interested.”

Levin is the founder of D.R.L. Enterprises, a Chicago-based company that dabbles in a variety of fields including aircraft and medical equipment leasing, sports products, tobacco processing and motion picture production. Levin told Shoalts he’s had past conversations with NHL commissioner about owning an NHL team, though never in Seattle specifically.

In an email to The Globe, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed these talks.

“We have had conversations with Don Levin over the period of the last several years about his potential interest in owning an NHL franchise,” Daly said. “None of those discussions occurred recently and none have involved the Phoenix Coyotes.”

The Coyotes  are the team most often linked with potential NHL relocation given their lack of ownership and issues with the city of Glendale.

It should be noted Levin isn’t the only potential owner in the mix. He said there may be another interested party located in Bellevue, Wash., that may be putting together a competing arena proposal in Seattle, though Levin declined to identify the person (or persons) involved.

  1. jdubs21 - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    As much as I’d like to see the NHL relocate the Phoenix Coyotes, I don’t think Seattle is the solution when they have said the only reason they want the NHL team is to get an NBA team. I’d rather see them put the team in Quebec city than have it be mediocre anywhere else. That being said, at least hockey is played (minor hockey, semi-pro to rec league) in Seattle unlike some other places the NHL is talking about. (I’m looking at you Kansas City and Las Vegas)

    • twistedfang - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      I assume your referring to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League? I would love to see this Arena get built here in Western Washington and get both a NHL and NBA team back!(Seattle had the Metropolitans who were the first American team to win the Stanley Cup in 1917)
      In regards to hockey in Kansas City and Las Vegas you are WRONG on both cities, Kansas City has the Missouri Mavericks of the CHL (Central Hockey League) and Las Vegas has the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL
      I would recommend in the future having facts to back up your post :)

      • jdubs21 - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        I was referring to them not having a strong hockey culture in their cities (LV and KC). As for the facts, I’ve seen countless articles that have stated clearly, Seattle wants a hockey team so that they can build a new stadium to attract an NBA team. This story is a week old. I would rather see a prospective owner wanting a NHL team because he is a hockey enthusiast, not because he wants to put an NBA team in the same building.

        Also please read my comment, I said that Seattle has minor hockey, semi pro and rec hockey, where as Las Vegas and Kansas City does not have a thriving minor hockey league, or hockey culture in either a desert town that rarely seens frigid temperatures or a midwest town that just got a semi pro team in 2009. Please know your facts.

        But I’m sure any hockey fan would rather see a hockey team in a city that values hockey. Given the choice of Quebec City or Seattle, I’ll go with Quebec City every time.

    • brucewaynewins - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      You may have meant “strong hockey culture” but you specifically said :

      ***”at least hockey is played (minor hockey, semi-pro to rec league) in Seattle unlike some other places the NHL is talking about. (I’m looking at you Kansas City and Las Vegas)”***

      You did not once say “strong hockey culture”. The two things are certainly different and unmistakable.

  2. cup0pizza - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Don’t want the arena in Bellevue. Too many yuppies and fakes. I think tickets would be a lot more expensive for a Bellevue arena as opposed to SoDo.

  3. fourfeatherfury - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Bringing the Jets back was a big step in the right direction… Now the NHL needs to take the next step and give the Nordiques back to the people of Quebec. Seattle doesn’t even belong in the equation.

    • zombies9 - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      How do you figure? Obviously you have never been to Seattle. The state of Washington has 4 WHL teams (5 if you include Portland which is across a bridge from Washington) ,lots of fan support ( my family of 4 go to several t-birds games every year and drive 3 1/2 hours 4or 5 times a year to Van to see the Canucks.
      We have a lot of youth hockey in the area. (my 7 year old son and 5 year old daughter are both in youth programs.

      You shouldn’t make such retarded comments when you have no idea what you are talking about.

  4. ragpappy - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Here’s the thing.. The only way this arena deal passes locally is if it’s a Multi-Purpose facility..

    Now I do understand most of the publicity has been towards the NBA, and rightfully so since there is a history and that is Mr. Larsen’s passion but obtaining an NHL team is just as important if not more important..

    If Mr. Levin is serious, in which all accounts he is, especially with the arena deal looking to be settled… the NHL is more important than the NBA… No shovel will go into the ground here locally without having a team in place…

    Quite honestly as well.. this city wants nothing to do with the NBA with Stern in place but if you ask about the NHL this city is absolutely on-board… including myself

  5. djdadj - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Seattle was the first American team to ever win a Stanley Cup – that has to count for something… and Seattle is a pretty damn good sports town to boot (at least as far as fans are concerned)

  6. dbara43 - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Seattle is the 12 largest market in the US, about 4 million population. I agree there is A LOT of animosity towards the NBA in this town. the NHL would do very well here, and I’d buy season tickets in a flash. On any given night in the Seattle area there are upwards of 15,000 people attending Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips games in the area. The NHL would thrive here and the NBA would be the loss leader.

    There are plenty of other opportunities for Quebec to get a team back. Columbus, the NY Islanders, Panthers, etc. come to mind. Build the arena, they will come.

    • zombies9 - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      Not only that, but it has the corporate dollars that are essential for success. Off the top of my head, there is Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom. Not many places can touch that!

      Face it, QC. Seattle is getting the next team. Check and Mate

  7. brucewaynewins - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Seattle has shown a passion for MLS with the Sounders. They supported the Sonics. They support the Seahawks. They support the Mariners but have done better jobs in years past. They have a passion for hockey and are close enough to Canada the fans their and the transplants would travel. Canucks fans would also travel from parts of Canada as do Maple Leaf fans to American cities. It’s a larger American market on top of it so it makes sense to put the team in Seattle vs just about every major option in the US or Canada.

    You’ll get buts in seats, bodies in jersies/sweaters, and people watching on tv. No other market would be able to do all 3 as well. They might do some of those but not all of those. The Canadian markets wouldn’t provide the ratings Seattle would in the US. I doubt they would help out Canadian ratings either. Most fans their already support an existing team.

    I’m not saying Canada shouldn’t get more teams but why put one in Quebec next when Seattle currently makes for a better option from top to bottom in a head to head battle.

  8. imleftcoast - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Seattle can support a team. It has the fifth biggest beer league in the country (and lots of great beer – Fremont, Manny’s, Mac n’ Jacks, Hilliard’s). It has a couple minor league teams, kids leagues and the history of the Seattle Totems.

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