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Chicago AHL owner eager to own Seattle NHL team

Dec 26, 2012, 11:55 AM EDT

Don Levin - Chicago Wolves owner

You may not be familiar with Don Levin, but he very nearly became the owner of the Montreal Canadiens. Instead, he’s the owner of the AHL Chicago Wolves but not giving up hope on joining the NHL owners fraternity.

Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune spoke with Levin (sign-up required) who talked about his dream of not just owning an NHL team, but having one in the Pacific Northwest.

“Seattle would be a great market for hockey, but right now there is no building — it’s years away,” Levin said. “(But) if there was something that came available I might try to buy that.”

The new building isn’t a problem in Seattle as they’ll reportedly have one by 2015. A team, however, is still the issue.

Levin says he’s comfortable with the current market and would love to buy a team and have them in a hockey-hungry market. If that means expansion becomes a viable option in the future, he’s willing to get involved there, too.

Considering he fell $60 million short of trying to buy the Canadiens, he’s got the cash to make it happen. It’s too bad there’s no hockey being played or a franchise ready to be picked off for a nice price at the moment.

(Photo: Chicago Tribune video)

  1. csilojohnson - Dec 26, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I agree, good market. Better then Phoenix at least. Maby Seattle will stop crying about a football game they would’ve lost without crappy officiating.

    • duster1982 - Dec 27, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      This comment makes no sense at all. Why would anyone in Seattle be “crying” about a game they won?

  2. capesouth - Dec 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Would love to see them move a current franchise to Seattle, like Columbus or Phoenix…or Florida. Same with Quebec. They would support a team much better than some of these current small market cities.

    • blomfeld - Dec 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      I’m with you guys as Seattle would make for a terrific NHL city ! :)

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 26, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        I would scratch Florida off your list for right now. As somebody a few posts under here, Seattle is a fair wether sports market. I would guess 9/10 markets are the same way. The more you win, the butts you put in seats.

        Which leads me to Florida, until this year, they hadn’t made the playoffs since before the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets existed. In fact, the last time they did make the playoffs was when the Atlanta Thrahers were an expansion team.

        As last year went on, more and more Panther fans started to show up. There were sold out in all four playoff games, and remember this, that was a decent Panther team that took the East Champion to Game 7, and I want to say it took overtime for them to be eliminated, and the vast majority of that team is coming back. Not to mention I believe they are top 5 in prospects, including a highly touted Nick Bjustead, who would have left the University of Minnesota to play for the Panthers. Except this whole lockout prevented that.

      • williplett - Dec 27, 2012 at 4:08 AM

        The league is in no shape to experiment with franchises right now. If a team moves in the near future it has to be to Canada. Seattle has to wait, but it could be in the mix in the future.

  3. nderdog - Dec 26, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I wonder if he knows that Paul Allen (AKA Seahawks/Blazers owner) has been lusting after a hockey team in either Seattle or Portland for years, so he has some competition for sure.

  4. 13datsyuk13 - Dec 26, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Nobody in Seattle cares about hockey. I live in Seattle and struggle to get playoff games on a tv in a bar. Seattle has too many fair weather fans and doesn’t deserve an NHL franchise. Everyone is basketball crazy here and let’s remember the sonics. The mariners were good early 2000 but nobody goes to see them anymore. People love the sounders but they are just soccer freaks. The only true ticket in town is the seachickens and the whole city loves them right now, because they are winning. NHL needs to stop forcing its product into markets that don’t understand the sport. This is why the league is losing money. In 8 years we will all be discussing why Seattle’s NHL team is bankrupt.

    • thomaspratt - Dec 26, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      I live close to Seattle, and I think this comment is basically right. If an NHL team coming to Seattle coincides with a return of the NBA, I just wonder if there aren’t enough opportunities for cross-promotion that the hockey team would do well.

      That said, I always thought Seattle would get an AHL level team in that western division some of the western NHL teams talk about every now and then.

    • eastcoastcynic - Dec 26, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      The Seattle area is much different from 25 years ago–more transplants from cities with NHL franchises and a population size similar to the Denver area, which supports the NHL without a problem. We’ve got enough corporate largesse and high wage professional jobs to buy the luxury boxes and the premium seats. Furthermore, we’ve got amateur hockey galore around here and strong support for junior hockey eventhough the audiences aren’t as big. A lot more people would go to the NHL since the quality is superior as more people would go to Sonic games than Seattle U or Husky B-Ball.

      With a contending team and a good TV demographic, the NHL in the Seattle area has the potential to suceed.

  5. puckish27 - Dec 26, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    The NHL should not relocate/expand to US cities where there is not an NBA team in the same building, it rarely works. Columbus, Phoenix, Long Island, St. Louis, Pittsburgh (both bankrupt twice)… Detroit and San Jose are major exceptions.

    • purp1234 - Dec 26, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      Puckish, I don’t know if your comment is that Detroit and San Jose are the only exceptions to the rule you proposed (the …. is throwing me off) or if all of the teams on your list are exceptions. Hockey on Long Island worked out pretty well after the Nets left the Coliseum. Decades of poor/mismanagement, an aging facility and a poor product on the ice has lead to the decline in Islander’s attendance.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 27, 2012 at 1:46 AM

        I’d say Minnesota is doing okay as a hockey market with a basketball team in a seperate building…

  6. 13datsyuk13 - Dec 27, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Strong support for jr hockey even though the crowds aren’t big? So the 3 of us in the Seattle area will support the team until our deaths!

  7. rogercrozier - Dec 27, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Columbus is WAY better market than Seattle. Blue Jackets sold out 56 straight homes at one point. They have been in top half of attendance the league for most of their existence. If they team just won once in a while every game would be sold out. Central Ohio is a great hockey market.

  8. harpdog - Dec 27, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    13datsyuk13, judging by the name, knows very little about Canadian hockey fans. Canucks have had 8 years of sellouts. Edmonton Has even more sell outs and Calgary I am not too sure. Canadians love their hockey and will come to Seattle for games.
    The 3 of us Jr. fans? When is the last time you went to a game. Before the Thunderbirds move 30 miles away to Kent, they we one of the top attendance teams in the WHL. There are tons of displace eastern hockey team fans like yourself and the Dead Things(redwings). I for one will be one of the first to get my 4 season tickets, if the time comes. However, I do not think that Levin will be their owner, that first chance will go to the guy that has had city council approve HIS new stadium. Pal Allen is a close #2 with Levin #3. My only question is, how many lockouts will it take to make the league realize that other places are better for hockey than some of the ones they have now.

  9. fortwaynekomets - Dec 29, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Seattle is a black city when it comes to hockey. won’t work. move to Quebec.

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