Blog Entry

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

Posted on: February 5, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 1:28 pm
 
Key Arena (front right) isn't suitable for an NHL franchise.

By Brian Stubits

It seems like we've been talking about this for a decade, but it really feels like the Coyotes situation in is coming to a head, that this will be their last season in the desert if they can't get anything figured out to keep the team where it is in the next two or so months.

Of course you have to answer the question of where would they move before you can think about moving the Coyotes. There has to be a place to play. One of the most-discussed markets is Seattle (along with Quebec City and Kansas City a little bit). But Seattle doesn't have a suitable arena, that's why they lost the SuperSonics in the NBA to Oklahoma City. Key Arena is just too out of date.

There has been a lot of talk about new cites that could host an arena in the area and some potential people to help finance it.

Turns out there's more than talk at this point, there's action from Seattle's end.

According to the Seattle Times a San Francisco hedge-fund manager who grew up in Seattle has been in talks with the city of Seattle about building a new, state-of-the-art arena south of Downtown by CenturyLink Field (NFL's Seahawks and MLS' Sounders) and Safeco Field (MLB's Mariners).

A Dec. 13 agenda for a meeting between the parties shows they were talking about details such as a "Review of Basic Deal Structure," "Financing Issues," including "City Debt Capacity," and "Security for Public Financing."

The documents, released Friday to The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request, also provide the first glimpse of how the largely unknown hedge-fund manager, 44-year-old Seattle native Christopher Hansen, approached the city about his desire to buy an NBA team and build an arena south of Safeco Field.

In an initial email laying out his vision, Hansen told city officials an arena could be built with minimal impact on taxpayers.

The driving force behind the push for a new arena is so that the city can get the Sonics back, with the Sacramento Kings being the likely target. As part of the agreement of the Sonics vacating the city was that it would retain the rights to the Sonics name and logo should the NBA return to Seattle.

But our concern here isn't with the NBA, it's obviously hockey. The Times article notes that it is believed a hockey team would vastly improve the viability of a new arena and would be pretty crucial to its financial success.

If Seattle can solidify plans for a new arena or even break ground it immediately becomes a viable suitor for an NHL franchise. Key Arena isn't ideal, but it could potentially serve as a temporary home while a new arena is finished. The cavernous Tacoma Dome some 30 miles south of Seattle could also be a possibility, but highly unlikely. As somebody who grew up watching games at the Tacoma Dome, it isn't great for hockey at all, and that was very minor-league hockey.

The NHL has supposedly been fond of Seattle as a host city. It would have a natural rivalry with the Canucks some two-plus hours up I-5, it's a somewhat cold-weather city that does have a hockey history to speak of as well. For years it has been home to the Thunderbirds in the WHL and nearby Everett also hosts a WHL team. Aforementioned Tacoma has also had a couple of teams. Plus, Seattle was the first city in the United States to win the Stanley Cup.

"There are a lot of people who think Seattle would be a great place to have a team. The Pacific Northwest, the natural rivalry with Vancouver, another team in the Pacific time zone ... but there's no building," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently told ESPN.com.

As we saw when the Sonics left, getting an arena with public finances in Seattle is a very tough proposition. There is a law in the city that requires any deal the city has regarding an arena has to be profitable for the city. So that's to say things are still a ways off for Seattle and a new arena, but this revelation makes it sound a lot further along than people thought.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Mar 30, 2010
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:30 am
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

Phoenix should move to Quebec. You then take Quebec and move them to the Eastern Conference with Winnipeg going back to the West where they should be. Besides we all know that Quebec was an awesome hockey city and they deserve to get a team again.



Since: May 7, 2009
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:00 am
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

CLEVELAND HAD A CHANCE. SEE: BARONS



Since: Feb 7, 2008
Posted on: February 6, 2012 10:54 am
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

Phoenix to Seattle or Quebec City...let's stop pretending it can work there.  Personally, while I would love a team in Seattle...you can't beat a native Canadien hockey fan.  They are awesome.




Since: Jun 2, 2007
Posted on: February 6, 2012 5:30 am
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

Yes they do. Wait, Oklahoma has an NHL Team? I didn't know those bible-thumpers even knew what hockey is. I wonder if this guy even knows where Seattle is, lol.




Since: Feb 5, 2012
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:50 pm
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

Green, Red, & White just like the old time Seattle Mets



Since: Feb 5, 2012
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:48 pm
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

Green, Red, & White just like the old time Seattle Mets



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 5, 2012 10:51 pm
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

So...Seattle wants to steal a team.....hmmmm. Whiny bitches dont deserve one.
They do deserve one. Yours.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 5, 2012 10:50 pm
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

Wait, this is the same city that didn't support the Sonics, right?
Wrong. This is the same city that supported the Sonics through thin and thinner and had them stolen from them because they wouldn't cave to David Stern and Clay Bennett wanted a team in his hometown. If support was all that mattered, there would be no NBA team in Oklahoma today.



Since: May 1, 2009
Posted on: February 5, 2012 10:31 pm
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

I`m canadian, but I would love to see an NHL franchise relocate to seattle before another city in Canada. I`ve never had a problem with Bettman trying to expand the game in the U.S., but at least give it to a city with fairly cold weather, maybe the communtiy plays hockey themselves, etc. Phoenix, Atlanta, Florida ..... cmon man!!! give a cities like Seattle, Milwaukee, Cleveland a chance 1st.



Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: February 5, 2012 10:16 pm
 

Report: Seattle already in talks for new arena

And why isnt Milwaukee in this discussion for an NHL team?  Natural rivals with Chicago and Minnesota, hockey-rich state, and stadium in place.  Badgers draw big crowds and state has always supported Brewers and Packers.  NHL in Wisco makes sense.  Hockey in the desert and the southeast does not.


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