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NHL could expand to Seattle in three years, says investor

Sep 20, 2012, 5:32 PM EST

Seattle AP

Seattle may be on the verge of getting a new NHL-caliber arena, and there may be investors willing to bring an NHL franchise to the Pacific Northwest city, but one pesky problem remains.

“I can tell you there are not teams for sale that are available to move,” Chicago Wolves owner Don Levin told ESPN the Magazine on Wednesday.

Levin would love to own an NHL team in Seattle, which he’s called “probably the best market in the United States that does not have a hockey team demographically.”

But how could he get one?

ESPN asked Levin about two potential relocation targets – the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders.

On the Coyotes, Levin figures Greg Jamison will eventually purchase the team and keep it in Glendale.

As for the other, “The answer to the Islanders moving is never. They’re not moving out of that market. No chance that’s going to happen.”

We’d agree with him on the Isles — with a new rink, they could easily be profitable — but we’re not so sure about the Coyotes.

Of course, even if Levin did think the Coyotes were primed to move, he’s not about to say it. You don’t get on the NHL’s good side that way. Just ask Jim Balsillie.

For now, Levin is focused on expansion, which he believes could happen in three years.

Hopefully the lockout will be over by then.

  1. scionofflame - Sep 20, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    I hope they’re able to get a franchise there sooner than later. I’m moving up to Seattle away from my usual team and would love to have hockey close by again!

  2. bcsteele - Sep 20, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    With the league talking about all this money the’re losing and Bettman’s wonderful expansion into the sunbelt. They better tread lightly here. I’m good with a team being in Seattle. In fact, being up north and on Canada’s border, I bet it could be a great location for hockey. But if they add a team instead of moving one…I will be pissed after all this work going into their complaints about the money situation.

    The same way I’m pissed they decided it was okay to sign these big deals over the summer just to attempt to roll them back through a lockout.

  3. DTF31 - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Expansion. Its gonna happen. Remember that realignment the league wanted? Primed for 2 expansion franchises. There are 3 places the NHL could look at for new markets in QC, Seattle and Southern Ontario. If this Phoenix deal falls apart then they go to Seattle and the NHL gets a billion dollars in expansion fees for the new Canadian teams who slide into that “NE” division that for some reason had Tampa and Florida mixed in.

    The only complication with this is that even though you removed the worst one from the money losers it will just make it tougher on teams like Nashville, Dallas, Anaheim, Florida, etc. without some team to drag HRR down and help keep the cap lower. Now, if they removed the hard figure of 16 million and switched it to a percent you might be alright in that regard.

  4. mclovinhockey - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Expansion, great idea, add another team to an area that couldn’t care less about the game, great way to save the league money.
    Anyone find it odd Bettman and Crosby make around the same amount of cash per year?

    • phipfwe76 - Sep 20, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      If anything, the NHL should be contracting right now. I also don’t see why the Islanders aren’t an option. The new arena isn’t fit for hockey, and even if they move away the NY area still has one downtown team and one in the ‘burbs.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:07 AM

        4 cups in a row with some of the leagues greatest players in their history and you suggest contraction for then because of what Wang and Snow have done to them?

        Crazy talk

      • phipfwe76 - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        I don’t recall ever saying the Islanders are one of the teams that should be contracted.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:05 AM

      Seattle couldn’t care less about hockey? Then why on earth has there been WHL teams in places like Portland and Seattle for nearly 20 years or more?

      And that last part, simply moronic, you must be a truther as well.

      • thefilm800 - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        So, what you are saying Seattle doesn’t care about something that isn’t professional. How could a city/region care about a team that plays in the CANADIAN HOCKEY LEAGUE. Plus, the Seattle Thunderbirds don’t play in Seattle, they play in a crap town called Kent.

        Oh, and may I remind you of the Seattle Sounders? The Sounders have been in Seattle since the old NASL, but not many people cared until they got a professional team on the level of the Major League Soccer. I absolutely believe an NHL franchise can succeed in Seattle because of the location of the arena, SoDo(south of downtown). The population in the metropolitan area would have no trouble getting there once the highways are repaired.

        The Western Hockey League is a terrible, terrible example. I think Seattle could actually manage to gather a fanbase if they were to get, hell, even an AHL team. Just not a team in a league focused on Canadian juniors.

      • mclovinhockey - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:09 PM

        why am I moronic for stating a fact that Bettman and Crosby both make over 8 mill a year??
        Also not saying Seattle would not be a better location for hockey than places like Vegas, Phx, or pretty much any place below Carolina. Just saying that its not a hockey town, there is a video of a kid from QC calling a ton of sports bars and Gyms and trying to talk to people about hockey and the most someone knew about hockey was that there is a player named Wayne gretzky. I think that seattle is a great sports area, they just are not one of the top 5 places I would look at if I wanted to make money.

  5. mpg44 - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    The kings are for sale!!

    • blomfeld - Sep 21, 2012 at 1:07 AM

      and so is your ass …

  6. chiadam - Sep 20, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Expansion? That’s so amazingly stupid that it’ll probably happen. There’s – according to the owners – not enough money to go around now. Adding more teams in unproven markets should fix everything, though.

  7. icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Expansion isn’t what the NHL needs. Relocation is more appropriate. Seattle seems like a place that is hungry for more Major League franchises. Let them have PHX, CBJ, etc. I don’t how can the NHL can expand yet they are talking about how they lost +$200 mil in the last 2 years.

  8. bleedingteal4life - Sep 21, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Seattle is already one of my fav cities. A hockey team would be icing on the cake!

  9. websurfer1961 - Sep 21, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Hockey what’s that .. Oh yea my grandfather told me that greed had killed this sport back in 2012. Wow that’s funny trying to bring back a sport that no body wants to see or play anymore let alone trust anyone to run a team or league. Let it remain dead that way no one gets screwed anymore.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:10 AM

      Another reason kids can’t vote or have a say in anything that matters in the world

  10. manchestermiracle - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Three years sounds about right. The NHL might have a CBA by then and be ready to actually start playing….

  11. SBS - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Reblogged this on SBS-Seattle.com and commented:
    Are you ready for you for some hockey (in 3 years)?

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