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Group of Seattle leaders traveling to Vancouver as talk of NHL expansion continues

Feb 20, 2014, 2:05 AM EDT

Seattle Getty Images

There continues to be more smoke rising about possible National Hockey League expansion to Seattle.

According to a report in the Seattle Times, a group of 30 sports, political and business leaders from the Emerald City will be coming up to Vancouver to attend a reception at BC Place Stadium – home of this year’s Heritage Classic – and then a Canucks game.

“You’ve got some people on the trip who have never been to an NHL game before,” the executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission Ralph Morton told the Seattle Times.

“So, at the very least, they’ll come back with a greater understanding of what hockey is and what it takes to present the sport to fans at the NHL level.”

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly recently talked about Seattle as a possible destination for a franchise.

“I think we have a belief in the Pacific Northwest. It being good hockey territory. I think, obviously, the Canucks have done a fantastic job — in Vancouver, but also throughout British Columbia and the Pacific region — at driving interest in the sport,” Daly said recently.

“So, we think the possibility is there. It’s kind of more obvious than some of the other areas. It doesn’t mean we’ve done our due diligence. We’d need to satisfy ourselves on the marketplace, but just the objective factors around the marketplace suggest Seattle would be a good hockey market.”

  1. Windmiller4 - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:15 AM

    Good, seattle needs a hockey team. Hopefully they get one sooner than later

  2. esracerx46 - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    Make the teams you have viable and flourish first. When their is an article posted saying Florida is losing 100k a day, then talk about a team in Seattle the same day…it just makes too much sense to relocate. So let’s expand rather than do the logical thing.

    It looks like in a few year the NHL will re-align…again. Should have swapped Columbus and Winnipeg and ended it rather than reinvent the wheel. 30 seems to be the saturation point as far as professional teams. 30 NBA and MLB. The NHL has reached a point where You can only expand so much. The amount of teams that have folded or merged or relocated over the years is staggering in comparison to other leagues. Let’s reach a point where you focus on your present markets and do what you need to there before adding another. If you add another market what do you do with Florida and Glendale when those house of cards tumble. You have QC as a viable option. Sure KC has an arena, but this isn’t field of dreams. Leave yourself an out when both Florida and Glendale need to be moved. Tweak what you have before you add.

    • kaptaanamerica - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:13 AM

      No team is relocating. Even with Seattle getting an expansion club, Portland is still waiting in the wings.in case you didn’t know the winter hawks have been a WHL staple forever…

    • Windmiller4 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:48 AM

      With the way hockey is growing it wouldn’t surprise me at all if in 10-15 years there was enough talent to support 32 or 34 nhl teams. Hopefully by then all teams will have good enough attendance to not lose money (im looking at you Pheonix and Florida) or they are relocated.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        any number that is not evenly divisible makes no sense. 32 works – 16 teams each conference, 8 each division. 34 would be crazy along with too much talent dilution. That would be > 10% growth. Think NHL and all lower levels.

  3. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:07 AM

    Let”s not forget, SEAs arena isn’t yet built, and won’t even be started until they’re guaranteed an NBA team. The people of SEA may want hockey, the leaders of SEA may want hockey, but hoops comes first.

  4. balfe13 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:11 AM

    Yes, speaking as a Seattle native, the return of a basketball team is far more important to us than a hockey team.
    That’s not to say we wouldn’t sell out every game for a hockey team, however, just that the arena will be built much more quickly if we’re getting the Sonics back. All the WHL teams in the state have pretty solid attendance and the entire state would definitely support a team; I remember how much eastern Washington was into the Canucks in the early-mid 1990s, even going so far as to have them play an exhibition game against San Jose in Spokane in 1995 that sold out within minutes.

  5. hieronymous27 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:18 AM

    The NHL has tapped out all viable market for hockey in North America. I am a hard core hockey fan and love the game more than major league baseball, the NFL or the NBA. I also know that I am in the minority among sports fans who rank the other leagues mentioned about ahead of the NHL. Bottom Line: hockey has a limited number of fans. It will never be the NFL, MLB or the NBA. The smartest thing would be for the NHL to accept this and, if anything, reduce the number of franchises and stay out of markets where there is no chance of success.

    • hosewater2 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      I love hockey too, and for that reason I completely agree. I think it gives the NHL a blackeye to perpetually have financially struggling clubs, almost always in nontraditional markets. Putting a team back in QC may not do a thing to expose the league to a broader audience, but at least there’s not the shame of having a team on the verge of major transition at all times.

      • hockeyflow33 - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        That makes sense because none of the other professional teams have financial problems.

        Oh wait, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland A’s, Houston Astros, etc…

  6. bullwinkle88 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    Stay out of Seattle. As a previous poster said, basketball comes first and will be the primary tenant even if the hockey team arrives first. That is NOT a good situation.

    Couple that with the fact that the NHL Playoffs were not even shown in the Seattle area. That says it all IMO.

    Look to Portland Oregon if you want a chance to really expand the sport.

    • journeyman22 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      Who told you the Stanley Cup playoffs weren’t shown in Seattle? Every NBC game was on either KING 5, or its sister KONG 6/16. That was a call made by station management, not Seattle hockey fans, so it’s both incorrect and a red herring.

      So what’s the difference between Seattle and Portland? Portland is first and foremost a hoops town, and the Blazers would always come before an NHL franchise. Portland and Seattle’s NBC stations KGW and KING) are part of the same company, so I wouldn’t expect a big difference in programming decisions. Oh, and Seattle has an economy that’s about twice the size. Advantage: Seattle.

      However, I think there should be 2 expansion teams and two moves (probably Florida, Phoenix). Seattle is a no-brainer, but so is Quebec and so is Portland. Let’s not play the NW cities against each other. We’re in the same boat, knowing that our part of the country is an undiscovered hockey hotbed. Both deserve teams, and soon enough, the NHL will realize they should’ve done this years ago.

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