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Sacramento arena plan collapses, Seattle’s NHL chances improve

Apr 13, 2012, 9:30 PM EDT

Seattle Getty Images

The news out of Sacramento isn’t good for basketball fans in the city, but it could be good for basketball and hockey fans in Seattle.

It appears the deal to build a new arena for the NBA’s Kings has cratered, leading to the possibility the franchise could be on the move.

Now, one potential destination for the Kings is Anaheim, and if it moves there, that would be that.

But another is Seattle, where there’s a plan to build a new arena should investor Chris Hansen be able to land an NBA team. Just one catch with that – the new arena might not be financially feasible without a second tenant, that being an NHL team.

Long story short, the next few weeks could be interesting. There’s been an injection of optimism in Glendale that the Coyotes might soon be sold to an owner (the leading candidate is Greg Jamison’s group) that plans to keep them in the desert. But there’s also reason for skepticism that a deal can be reached.

If the NHL can’t get something done in Glendale, it’ll have to look elsewhere eventually – most likely to Quebec City or Seattle. And if Seattle can only get the Sacramento Kings to move there if an NHL team moves there too, well, maybe that’s what ends up happening.

PBT: With Sacramento arena deal all but dead, Stern says league has done all it can

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 13, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    If another team doesn’t move to Canada then Seattle seems like the next best choice.

  2. atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 14, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    There are two big holes in the Seattle plan right now: 1. They’ll have to play 2 seasons in an arena that can only seat 9500 for hockey, half of those obstructed view. 2. And the big one…there’s simply no owner! Both Paul Allen and the guy looking to buy the Sacramento Kings have said they have no interest in owning an NHL team. Seattle is a leverage play by the NHL to try and get more money from the QC group, QC should just tell them to go ahead move it to Seattle…the NHL can’t although I have no doubt Bettman is pompous enough to try.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 14, 2012 at 2:31 AM

      Not only would Bettman try, he’d fight tooth and nail to keep the team there for years rather than admit it was a stupid mistake if it doesn’t work out.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 14, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        And based on what’s happened so far he’d somehow manage to get the city of Glendale to pay him to keep the team in Seattle.

    • zombies9 - Apr 14, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Ok, first off. The Tacoma Dome seats 17k for hockey, the Tacoma Rockets (WHL) and Tacome Sabrecats used to play there.

      Secondly, Don Levin, who owns the Chicago Wolves is interested in bringing a team to Seattle

      We are ready for Hockey

      Let’s go Metropolitans

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        Tacoma Dome seats 17k for basketball, that includes floors seats and such, for hockey you’re probably in the 14-15 range not horrible by any means, but I’ve read that the sightlines for hockey in the TC are horrible, the risers are too shallow which cause bad sightlines.

        But you also run into the issue that you’re putting the team in a city of 200K that is 30 miles from Seattle, so my question would be (and I ask this with all sincerity because I don’t know the area very well) will fans from Seattle drive that distance to watch hockey for the first 2 years? And will the new Tacoma fans drive that distance to games after 2 years?

        My last point would be that Tacoma lost a junior team after 4 years because of bad attendance, QC lost an NHL team because the owner was looking to cash in (bought the Nords for $4 mill and sold for $90 mill) and the fact that at the time the CDN dollar was worth $0.70 (it later dropped to close to $0.60) but it’s now back at par with the USD.

        I think the best market right now is QC, you have shovels in the ground on a new arena in the fall, billionaire owner with his own tv networks ready to go and an old NHL arena that will be upgraded in the summer. Seattle will eventually get their crack at it but it just makes too much sense to go to QC right now, let Seattle build their arena and then move the next emergency (there’s plenty of them in the pipeline) there.

      • critter69 - Apr 15, 2012 at 2:42 AM

        atwatercrushesokoye wrote:
        “. . . will fans from Seattle drive that distance [about 30 miles] to watch hockey for the first 2 years? And will the new Tacoma fans drive that distance to games after 2 years?”

        The Washington Capitals are VERY big in Baltimore, and the Baltimore market is about 40 miles from DC. MANY fans drive that distance, and the Baltimore/DC area is NOT noted for ‘long distance driving’. I think that should answer both your questions.

    • zombies9 - Apr 14, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      First off. The Tacoma Dome seats around 17,000 for hockey, was home to the Tacoma Rockets (WHL) and Tacoma Sabrecats, hosted preseason NHL games there.

      Secondly, Don Levin, who is owner of the Chicago Wolves now, has already stated he wants to bring an NHL team to Seattle.

      So much for the knocks on Seattle as a legitimate candidate for relocation or expansion.

      We are ready for hockey in Seattle now and it is only a matter of time.

      Bring back the Seattle Metropolitans!

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 14, 2012 at 8:08 PM

        There’s nothing in your Tacoma Dome link about it holding 17,000 for hockey. Here’s a link that shows the most they’ve ever had for a hockey game is 15,240, the link also explains why the TC is a bad hockey venue.

    • naveennp - Apr 15, 2012 at 2:16 AM


      They can always play 2 seasons in the Tacoma Dome that has more than enough capacity for hockey.

      Potential Owners? There are 2 ownership groups that have expressed interest in owning a team based out of Seattle-
      1. Don Levin (A chicago based Businessman who owns the AHL Wolves and made bid for the Cubs when they were up for sale)
      2. There also is an ownership group based out of Bellevue thats interested.

      Just speculation but Seattle Billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Steve Ballmer that can always step up.
      So Seattle isn’t leverage it’s the NHLs only chance for a large fan base that isn’t based out of Canada. Gary Bettman clearly wants the NHL teams in the US over Canada.

  3. zombies9 - Apr 14, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    It might be 30 miles from Seattle, but its only 20 from The Showare Center ( where the Seattle Thunderbirds) play. As a matter of fact, there are currently 4 WHL teams in the state of Washington. 5 If you count Portland which is separated from
    Wa. By a bridge. I know Everett had an NHL exhibition game there a couple of years ago. Both Seattle area teams have good attendance so I don’t think there will be a problem getting people into the seats.

    My family of 4 have driven 3 1/2 hours to Vancouver to see the Canucks 4 times this year and hopefully more for these playoffs. My 7 year old son and 5 year old daughter are currently in youth hockey and we drive 20 miles from where we live to practice and skating a few times a week..

    I know the Seattle sounder train travels from Tacoma to Seattle every weekday during the workweek and for Seahawks games. I don’t see why it wouldn’t go the other direction for hockey at the Tacoma dome.

    Seattle is the 12th largest market in the US, one of the wealthier cities here. And the corporate dollars to support a team. Off the top of my head, Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco. Those dollars are necessary for success.

    I disagree the qc makes the most sense now when the Yotes would stay in the same conference and have an immediate rivalry with Van. Plus we all know Bettman will want to bleed qc for expansion fees.

    If I hear another smug Canadian say that Seattle doesn’t have the fan base for hockey or the QC is better just because it’s in Canada, I’m going to puke.

    the northwest is a HUGE market that has been untapped as of yet. There is a long history of hockey in Seattle, plenty of Canadians who live here, and we want the NHL now!

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 14, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      My dubting Seattle has nothing to do with being a “smug Canadian” it’s more about there being more groundwork laid in QC already and everything is already in place to go, whereas Seattle has more work to do, for instance the QC arena aready has designs done with a site chosen and approved and financing in place with shovels ready to be in the ground in late summer/early fall. As far as I know the Seattle plan is in the initial stages with the potential NBA owner having to pay for a study on traffic because the Mariners don’t want an arena there.

      Another point would be without the NBA there is no new arena in Seattle, so the timeline of when the Kings will be sold and moving them approved plays a part in this and the NHL will need to make a decision on Phoenix fairly soon.

      The Phoenix staying in the same conference thing is a red herring because Winnipeg is currently playing in the Eastern conference and would be a natural move to the West (although the fans and team in Winnipeg are apparently wanting to stay in the East).

      I have no doubt Seattle will eventually be a good location for an NHL team, I just see QC as being more ready right now. With the Islanders, Devils, Blue Jackets, Panthers, Stars all being in different stages of financial trouble (Islanders is arena based) I would guess that Seattle will have the chance at an NHL team within a year or two, by then they’ll have a better chance to have everything a little more lined up.

      Finally my last point on your “smug Canadians” remark, simple facts, of the top 10 teams in the NHL in revenue 6 of them are Canadian, the 7th team is just outside of the top 10. It’s pretty easy to see why Canadians feel that there should be more teams based up here.

      • zombies9 - Apr 14, 2012 at 10:38 PM

        I was not referring to you when I said smug Canadians. I’m talking about EVERY single forum, chat group, blog, twitter, news story, etc. where people are bringing up Seattle as a possible relocation site for the Coyotes. There’s always a million people from North of the border piping off about how it will never work in Seattle when 1) they’ve never been here, 2) have no idea about the hockey culture here and 3) dismiss the this area has having no interest. Like I said before our family loves BC, have spent summer vacations there, Vancouver island, go to several hockey games a year, so that comment was not directed at you.

        One only need to look at MLS here to get an idea of how hockey will grow here. The Sounders have grown immensely since they joined MLS and now have the leagues highest attendance. With some big league exposure, hockey will do the same, the potential here is HUGE.

        As far as the Mariners not wanting a stadium there. The Mayor has already stated that will not delay the stadium going up. When someone wants to invest several hundred million dollars into the city on their dime, that would be idiotic not to endorse it and do everything possible to facilitate its construction.

        The land has now been purchased for an arena, practice facility, and team store so the only thing left would be a
        team. That is the only issue, so if the Sacramento deal falls through, they can potentially have shovels in the dirt BEFORE sept. when QC is expected to start. Hanson has been doing this behind the scenes for almost 2 years now, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there is already stadium designs somewhere.

        Let me ask you one question. Lets say both cities are at exactly the same place regarding relocation, stadiums built, owners in place, etc. which city would you prefer a team to go to?

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 15, 2012 at 2:51 AM

        I have zero preference between the two, actually that’s not entirely true I’d pick QC based solely on the fact that they lost a team based on things other than fan support. But truthfully I’d like both cities to end up with teams I think both are better than several locations that currently have teams.

        I just googled average attendance figures and there’s 4 teams below 82% with 2 in the 70’s, what I would do with them: Columbus and Phoenix go to Seattle and QC, NYI move to Brooklyn to bring back the Americans franchise and then I’d really consider contracting 2 teams.

        If Seattle does end up with the Phoenix franchise I hope there are more fans as passionate about hockey as you seem to be!

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