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Daly: Pacific Northwest will ‘get serious consideration’ for expansion or relocation

Jul 24, 2013, 10:46 AM EDT

Seattle Getty Images

Tuesday in Vancouver, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the league’s interest in one day expanding or relocating to the Pacific Northwest.

Daly did so when asked where Seattle — just down the road from Vancouver — fit into the NHL’s plans after the Phoenix Coyotes struck a deal to keep them in Arizona.

“I’m not sure we ever addressed Seattle as a specific alternative in that process, but I think it’s safe to say we’re very intrigued by the Pacific Northwest generally,” said Daly.

“Going forward, I would expect that, to the extent expansion comes into the picture or relocation is needed, I’m sure the Pacific Northwest is going to get serious consideration.”

By referring to the Pacific Northwest, not just Seattle, it would also seem to include Portland, Oregon, in the discussion.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Portland — which unlike Seattle has an NHL-ready building (the Rose Garden) — was in the mix to land the Coyotes.

  1. jcmeyer10 - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Both could support a franchise. A soccer match to decide who gets it, or do they do a fan-off where each fan base shows how rabid they are.

    Quite frankly, I hope they each can get a team somehow. *looks towards Glendale*

    • jhmiddleton81 - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      It’s a joke that that franchise is still there, maybe it would work if the Arena was in downtown Phoenix and not 30 minutes away in GLENDALE!!!!!

    • gradyspop - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      You ain’t from around here are ya son? In ‘Murica ain’t nothin’ decided by a soccer, err, futbol match. You cannot have our NHL team. But you can have our MLS team. (do we even have an MLS team?) (is there an MLS team on the west coast other than in LA?)

      • jcmeyer10 - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        *Shifty eyes* I can’t tell if this is a joke… I’m going to go with that.

  2. endusersolutions2013 - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    I hope the NHL either expands to both, or contracts by two. The uneven conference allignment currently is lame. In the west, the 4th seed in one of the division playoffs could be the 5th place team in “Division A” has a better record than the 4th place team in “Division “B”. And they could end up being the division champions in a division they don’t play in. Absurd.

    The only rational long term solution is conferences and divisions with the same # of teams.

    • shoobiedoobin - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      I’d like even conferences too but it’s not like this idea doesn’t pretty much already happen with division winners automatically getting a top 3 spot. And it could happen with even conferences, too. I don’t care about uneven conferences as long as the same amount of top teams from each make it. All you’re getting is one extra loser in 2 of the 4 conferences. It makes 0 difference. None.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        In most years, likely not, but remember last year, when the Kings surged late, and ended up taking the 8th spot, from where they went on to win the cup. In this type of situation, they would have ended up as the Central Division champ. I don’t know of another sport where someone can take a division championship of a division they don’t play in.

      • shoobiedoobin - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        ^There’s going to be 3 from each division making it, regardless. With basically the same schedule conference wise all we end up with realistically is one extra loser in two divisions.

      • shoobiedoobin - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        ^Top 3 from each division make the playoffs. You have basically the same schedule conference wise so if you want home ice, finish higher. Again this really just boils down to having one extra loser.

  3. jessejames182 - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    I’m not sure someone will bring it up, but I’ve read a few articles that Quebec City is “insulted” when they get snubbed from expansions/relocation talks. I don’t mean to presume anything but I’m wondering honestly do Canadians feel under represented in the NHL by the amount of Teams, does it feel like a conspiracy to add more American teams? I’m from Houston and as much as I’d love for an NHL team to come here, I know it would never happen, and it doesn’t help that the Stars weren’t doing so well but it looks like they’re at least actively trying to get better. Just trying to add my perspective

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      This is not an issue with Quebec or it’s merits. The basic problem is that the NHL is Eastern Time Zone heavy. Moving the Yotes or expanding to Quebec would make it WORSE. It’s already 16/14.

      Has nothing to do with Cabnada. I don’t see another city west of Ottowa provence that could support an NHL team.

      • arlingtonrob - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        The league will always be eastern time zone heavy. The largest metropolitan areas in North America are in the east and they’re more concentrated. Therefore, the NHL will always have more clubs in the east. Balancing the conferences will always be difficult, and to some degree unfair, it’s simply an unavoidable fact.

    • imleftcoast - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Seattle got jerked around because Quebec would have gone nuts being played for leverage with Glendale. As predicted, Bettman and henchmen are pretending using Seattle was a brilliant move to determine interest. Don’t believe it. This story is PR and nothing more (with all due respect to Brough who is building a respectable career here, and may get out of his mom’s basement still – not sure about Mike Halford yet).

      • pastabelly - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Seattle doesn’t have a building, other than the dump the Sonics moved out of because it was too outdated. It doesn’t appear if a new arena will be built in Seattle unless they get a basketball team first.

  4. tyler4richardson - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    I know everyone, including myself is on the Seattle bandwagon, but I really think Portland would be a better spot. Not saying Seattle isn’t a good location either, but I think Portland would kick some ass. They already got great fan support for their WHL team and aside from the Jailblazer era, their NBA team is usually a top 5 (top 3) team in attendance average.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      I went to Seattle and Portland last fall and I agree. Those Portlanders are a different breed and really rally around their teams.

      • tyler4richardson - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        Yup. You don’t have to be a soccer fan to respect the Portland Timbers fans. Some of the best in all of sports.

  5. jhmiddleton81 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I envision Portland and Quebec City getting expansion bids, while the Coyotes relocate to Seattle once the Coyotes move, and then you would move Detroit back out west in the central division, not everybody is going to win, but this is the best possible situation.

    • channelguy - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Well, except that it doesn’t address the best open market of all — Markham. It’s the eastern part of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), is planning an arena. and will sell the place out, including corporate boxes, from day 1. Toronto is now the third largest metro market in North America, and given that the Leafs are (by far) the most profitable team in the league, this one’s a no-brainer.

      Many analysts seem to think that Quebec City and Markham will not get green lighted for a move by an existing franchise, because the NHL knows both will pony up huge expansion fees they can’t get from any other cities, when they expand to 32 teams. That means relocations are strongly preferred to be to the west, which is why Seattle and Portland look more attractive than in the past.

      • jhmiddleton81 - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        I completely agree with you, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have this insane belief that they have a right to veto any move or a team that enters within 50 km of their terriotory and they would have to be given a significant amount of money in order to cooperate, your looking at a $200 million dollar expansion fee, $200-300 Million to pay off the Leafs and then $500 Million to build the GTA Centre, I think they should be #1, because they would make so much money and economically it would be rediculous to turn that down, but other factors such as TV money and an exorbinant price tag might temper peoples expectations

      • mmmpierogi - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:34 PM

        Am I the only person that’s never heard of Markham before?

        I’ve been following hockey on some level for the past twenty years, so I’m at least passingly familiar with the larger and many mid-sized Canadian cities based on name recognition (e.g., teams that play in the QMJHL or other leagues). I’ve also been to Toronto maybe six or seven times, and have no recollection whatsoever of having been to or heard Markham mentioned. Is it an edge city that’s exploded in population in the past ten years?

    • clefty1 - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      Detroit is not going back west I will bet the farm on that..

  6. thailer35 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Coyotes aren’t relocating. Time to quit power trolling and move on people.

  7. squidward247 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Expansion isn’t the answer for the NHL. Contraction with possible relocation is. The NHL needs to get to 20, 24 teams for sustained life and for keeping talent in and the untalented out.

    There are a few levels to determine what teams are safe from being shut down. Numbers in parenthesis are Stanley Cups.
    1) The Original Six: MTL (24), TOR (13), BOS (6), NYR (4), DET (11), CHI (5)
    2) 1967 Expansion Teams: PITT (3), PHIL (2), STL (0), LAK (1), DAL (1) (result of merger of North Stars and Golden Seals/Cleveland Barons)
    3) Any team that has won the Stanley Cup 2 times or more included in the above 2 categories.: EDM (5), NYI (4), NJD (3), COL (2).
    4) The remaining Canadian teams not included in the above 3 categories: VAN (0), CAL (1), OTT (0), WIN (0).

    That’s a total of 19 teams. The rest are organized by number of years in the league, trips to the playoffs, playoff success/failure. Money put into the league, money taken out (Phoenix). Attendance (regular season/playoffs). Teams that are to be shuttered have their players put into a draft, their AHL tames (if applicable) are shuttered as well, unless they can find a way to continue. The teams Awards then become the property of the league and available if a new team returns to a city that once had an NHL team.

    In the end you should have a 24 team league like the 1992-1993 season.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      That would likely be too big a change to digest at once. But along that line, it might make sense to retrace to 28 teams. 2 even conferences, four even divisions. Now you’re only looking at absorbing two NHL and two AHL teams. No way the NHLPA would buy into 20% of their players betting tossed.

      • stakex - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        The NHLPA wouldn’t buy into ANY form of retraction…. and neither would the NHL. Otherwise it would have been a serious part of the new CBA talks.

    • micklethepickle - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      So you obviously are no fan of the SE division… I agree that Florida doesn’t need 2 NHL teams, but WAS has been successful for almost a decade straight (regular season, at least… I know) and Carolina won the cup in the last 10 years. I agree PHX keeping the ‘Yotes is a dumb idea, and that ATL deserved to lose their team, but to deny huge swaths of the USA a professional NHL team seems destined to relegate hockey to a perpetual NASCAR-level of sports. It makes a big difference to be able to root for a team that the people around you are fans of. Part of why I was a crazy Avs fan when I was younger.

      • biasedhomer - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        Its all about the market. Washington is a good place to keep the team. Both Florida teams probably should move, along with Phoenix .
        You just have to accept that hockey is not popular everywhere. And there are areas without teams currently in which hockey could potentially thrive.

    • biasedhomer - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      I agree, the league does not need more teams, it needs less. Or move some of those franchises in the south up north.

    • stakex - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Put aside for a second that the NHL and NHLPA execs would laugh at this post for its absurd suggestion of cutting 20-33% of the league…. your formula for deciding which teams stay or go is equally funny.

      In the extremely unlikely event the league retracted (it won’t, it will expand), the teams that are eliminated will be based on only one thing… who is losing the most money. Past cups or team history would have nothing at all to do with it.

  8. tdrusher225 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I like the idea of Seattle or Portland getting a team. But, this is just an excuse to keep teams in these garbage markets and continue to water down the product. I would prefer to see them contract and relocate the Coyotes and Panthers of the world. But they’ve made it clear that it’s not about the product to them, it’s about the profit. Too many teams, too many games, and too many garbage markets that lose money every year and don’t care about hockey.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      One thing most don’t look at is that in some years keeping weak teams/markets going makes strong teams lose. For example, the Blackhawks, despie selling out all games and WGN revenue, lose money some years. A key part of that is the “revenue sharing” aspect that is used to keep marginal teams afloat.

      • chicagobtech - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        Correction: it’s Comcast SportsNet money for the Blackhawks. There are only a handful of hockey games played on WGN every season.

      • jhmiddleton81 - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        I assure you the Chicago Blackhawks have not lost money since Rocky Wertz arrived and turned the team around. They lose like 8 % in profits and they don’t lose money that for sure

      • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        Chi, Thanks, Since I’m 6 1/2 hours south (tho grew up in the Chicago area), I was not aware of the broadcasting change.

        JH, I got the info on losing money some years from an interview with Rocky this summer.

      • jhmiddleton81 - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2013/06/25/chicago-blackhawks-stanley-cup-win-will-add-50-million-to-teams-value/

        He’s just saying that, they make plenty of money, read that as to why and with their new TV deal with CSN they will make even more money, they all are saying that

      • tdrusher225 - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:03 PM

        But losing money because you spend a great deal on the team doesn’t mean the franchise isn’t valuable. I’m talking about teams that lose money strictly because they can’t produce the type of income to support the team, like Nashville, Phoenix, etc. You’re right that revenue sharing would certainly help some of those teams and I like the idea in theory, but I don’t want that to be an excuse to keep all of these lousy franchises in bad markets because they’re living off the money of teams like Toronto, NYR, Montreal, Boston, etc. The league needs to take a serious look at how they can improve the product rather than just trying to raise revenues and I feel team numbers and locations could play a role in that, among other things.

    • clefty1 - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      Portland is a SMALL market so get them out of the picture. Maybe move the Panthers to Seattle. that way the conferences will once again be balanced.

      • beavertonsteve - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        The 19th Largest metro area in the US is too small?

        I guess we should let St Louis, Pittsburg, Charlotte, Nashville, Columbus, and Buffalo know they don’t belong either.

  9. blackhawks2010 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Seattle would be a fantastic NHL market. They have passionate, loyal fans who will support the team. Seattle should already have an NHL team, wake up Bettman and Daly. It’s really a joke that Phoenix and South Florida have teams and Seattle doesn’t. Neither of these markets have proven successful. Bring Hockey to Seattle!

  10. scoocha - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Move Florida and Arizona – now, please.

    • beavertonsteve - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      I’m not sure where we’d fit them. I suppose Arizona could be moved into Mexico, perhaps Florida could become part of Cuba, or just submerge it under the gulf of Mexico.

  11. blomfeld - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    I heard yesterday that the Panthers are now offering season ticket packages which equate to $7.00 per game (source @ TEAM 1040 radio) … truly unbelievable and quite pathetic that such ‘idiotic’ financial stewardship is still even being allowed. Nonetheless, Seattle and Portland would be ‘excellent’ additions to the league and hopefully that’s where we’re headed, given the current 16/14 split between conferences ?

  12. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Seattle and Portland are both awesome cities. The NHL has neglected the Pacific Northwest for long enough, instead opting for the likes of Florida, Atlanta (twice), Dallas, and Phoenix. Seattle has one of the most passionate and loud fanbases in the NFL. While Portland has a devoted following for the Trail Blazers. I think either city would welcome a hockey team with open arms, in a similar fashion to the way Winnipeg welcomed the horrendous Thrashers franchise. Personally, I’d rather see expansion so they can add more teams to the Western Conference and even up the competition. As for choosing between Seattle or Portland… I’ve vacationed in Oregon and Washington and both are certainly deserving. If I wasn’t in Philly I’d be in the Pacific Northwest. But, like the article says, Portland already having the Rose Garden probably puts them ahead. Personally, I’d rather see expansion in Seattle. But either one would support an NHL team, IMO.

    • gradyspop - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      Pssttttt…. The Sun Belt is getting the teams over the Pacific Northwest for 1 reason. Television revenue. The population center of the US (North America really) Is forever moving South and West. Why did Atlanta get 2 swings before Portland or Seattle? Population. Portland is the 35th largest metro area in North America. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_metropolitan_areas_by_population

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:34 PM

        But as we’ve seen that doesn’t guarantee success for the franchise. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that hockey will never stick in a city like Atlanta. They only care about SEC football down there. Even the Falcons and Braves can’t compete with the popularity of the Georgia Bulldogs. The probability of success for a franchise depends on more than the population of a metropolitan area. Climate is a larger factor than the NHL would like to admit. Why would people go see a Panthers game when it’s 85 and sunny? And younger generations don’t usually have easy access to rinks or frozen ponds, so it’s difficult to grow a fanbase over time. Kids usually gain interest in a sport when they play it themselves. And if the focus is population, then Seattle isn’t far behind Atlanta in terms of the metro area. In fact, both Seattle and Portland have higher populations within the city limits than Atlanta.

        I understand the NHL wanted to expand into an untapped southern market, but overall, most of the teams just can’t compete financially with their northern brethren. The Pacific Northwest makes so much more sense for a winter sport. And Bettman and the league ignoring the region has damaged the league in a number of areas.

  13. snowfl - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    It’s getting pretty old hearing move the Panthers! Move the Panthers! The team has been around for 20 years. Since 2010 the Panthers have been at worst 22nd in average and total attendance. Ahead of teams such as Colorado, Anaheim, Winnipeg, New Jersey, Dallas, Columbus, Carolina, and of course Phoenix and the Islanders. They even finished ahead of Edmonton last year in attendance. Portland would be a good location for a franchise (either expansion or relocation) but there are clearly other teams that should be considered for relocation before the Panthers or the Lightning.

    • ryanrockzzz - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:27 AM

      Very true. But you know, it’s Canada and they are always off limits when it comes to dicussing teams for contraction, despite the fact Edmonton has been awful for years and now the people are also not coming out to games. I’ve been to Edmonton and that’s about the best thing going for it, so it is a bit surprising even with a bad team.

      I think contracting instead of expanding is also the right answer. Portland should have been considered a long time ago, ahead of some cities (Winnepeg, or even Phoenix) that really haven’t produced a strong team thus far. The NHL never appears to have much a plan when it comes to placing teams. Placing a team in Portland though would make a ton of sense, and the fan base there would appreciate them.

      • pretty0g - Jul 26, 2013 at 5:21 AM

        Haha its not people not coming out to games, its just the arena. Rexall only sits 16,839, and that is the Oilers avg attendance this year. come to think of it i think they’ve sold out every game since 2003. Gotta admit the Panthers avg being 16,991 for this season is staggering. selling 99.7% of your arena with a terrible team in the middle of Florida is impressive. Must’ve been the $7 dollar a game season tickets. Myself being Canadian it would be less expensive to fly and live there for a couple months and have season tickets then it would be to have season tickets in any Canadian city.

        Money is a big thing, not only being hockey fans. The cheapest single game ticket in Canada is around $60-70 while I know the games I’ve been to in the states (Phoenix, Anaheim, LA) I got in for $15.

  14. puffdragon420 - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    There should definitely be a team in Seattle. It’s a great sports city, and they would form a rivalry with Vancouver almost immediately. Also marijuana :D

  15. beavertonsteve - Jul 24, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    A lot of people don’t realize it, but Portland already has a proven hockey fanbase. Winterhawks games sell extremely well during their regular season. I tried to get tickets during their playoff run and the damn games kept selling out. That’s a WHL team. I can’t even imagine how crazy for a NHL team Oregon hockey fans would be.

  16. channelguy - Jul 24, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Portland comes down to ownership. Ownership has always been the NHL’s bugbear compared to the other major team sports. You have had syndicates of owners with little money of their own (with disastrous past records in the league, and now a new one in Phoenix), owners who went bust and tried to hang onto the team, and an assortment of tax cheats and swindlers, some of whom wound up in jail. Avoiding that kind of situation in a new market, so you aren’t confronted with bad options, like in Phoenix, should be priority number one, and to the league’s credit, I think it is.

    Portland IS a relatively small market, and there’s really only one Grade A owner prospect there: Paul Allen, Microsoft billionaire, and the Trail Blazers’ owner. In the past he has had NO interest in a hockey team. This year, there have been reports that has changed. If Allen isn’t interested, Portland has no chance at a team. If he is, than they do. It’s really that simple.

  17. dallasstars9 - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    We love our Winterhawks, but the Rose City is ready for some NHL action!

  18. stakex - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I would say its all but certain the NHL will expand in the next couple years with these locations at the top of the list. The league wouldn’t have come up with odd sized conferences we have now if there was no plan to make them even at some point. Retraction isn’t an option because the NHLPA will never go along with it, and more teams could mean more games and a bigger revenue pie for the sides to split.

    Sure, it wouldn’t hurt to move a couple teams that are currently in weak markets, but adding new teams to profitable locations certainly isn’t going to hurt either.

  19. capsrockva - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    I think Portland and Seattle would be natural rivals with Vancover and maybe some of the Cal. teams. I think it would be great for the leauge

  20. proudliberal85392 - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    “thailer35: Coyotes aren’t relocating. Time to quit power trolling and move on people.” I agree with my fellow Coyote fan, thailer35. Time to give it a rest, folks.

  21. bonzaibnny - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    The main reason the NHL has ignored the Pacific Northwest isn’t because of the size or quality of the market, it’s the time zone. Those of us in Portland or Seattle know that most of the games we get to watch start at 4 or 4:30 PT because the TV revenue just isn’t there when they lose the East Coast and Midwest to sleepytime. Maybe now with more people having DVRs the NHL will realize that those real fans will still record and watch the next evening.

  22. bonzaibnny - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Honestly, I was shocked that Paul Allen went after the Coyotes… maybe he is finally getting the picture after the fan support (viewing parties, rallies, etc) for the Portland Winterhawks’ quest for the Memorial Cup this season. I am hoping for Portland, but I would gladly split season tickets with someone in Seattle! BTW for those who don’t know, Portland and Seattle are about a 2 1/2 hour drive or a leisurely 3 1/2 train ride. Heck, let’s both get a team!
    OH and here’s a little rivalry humor for you all… “Why doesn’t Portland get a MLB team? Because Seattle would want one too.”

  23. dbara43 - Jul 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Seattle and Portland will likely get relocated teams. The Coyotes vote was only to extend Seattle the time it needs get an arena on line. Portland has an arena but who knows about the fan base? The Coyotes will almost certainly move within 5 years as they will almost certainly lose $50 million in that time to activate their out clause. The other relocated team could come from Florida, Columbus, or possibly Dallas, who has crappy attendance, no natural or even regional rivals, and is owned by a Vancouver businessman.

    Expansion would then come from Canada where the dollar is strong now and would include Quebec and likely Markham to get to 32 teams. What would they call that team anyway? The Markham Mollies?

    db

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