The plans go on in Seattle for an arena that would not only potentially play host to an NBA franchise, but also a team in the NHL. That would be the goal at least.
At this point the arena is still in the design phase, though, not being built yet. So they're still imagining what it could look like and on Thursday Chris Hansen, the man leading the movement to build the arena and secure an NBA team, released renderings of a hockey layout.
It looks pretty awesome except for some rather glaring omission ... benches, penalty boxes and a Zamboni door. That could make things logistically tough.
OK, so it's a first rendering and obviously they wouldn't build it that way (at least I sure hope not) so we're just poking a little fun. There are some other things to consider here as Hansen explained. From SonicsAreana.com:
We also just wanted to take this opportunity to share a couple pictures for all the diehard hockey fans out there of what this building will look like for an NHL game. The bottom line is as good as this is for basketball, it is an even better building for hockey.
As can be seen in the pictures above, as with most NBA/NHL buildings we have designed the seats behind the backboard/goal to retract backwards and the first few rows of courtside seating can be removed to accommodate hockey's largest playing surface and dasher board. The net result puts hockey fans even closer to the action, including our pocket suites. Given the size of the playing surface and speed of the game, we also think the Sonic Rings will prove to be one of the most unique and valued viewing experiences in the game.
While I know there may have been a few skeptics out there, I have to say I am just as pumped as most of you to see the return of professional hockey to Seattle, and honestly can't wait to see this building bursting at the seams with crazed Seattle hockey fans.
OK, so minus the missing elements, it looks pretty awesome. The upper deck looks pretty close to the ice and is steep, which should make for some good sightlines from all over the arena.
The twist near the boards is you can see the suites. It would be a great viewing experience for those fans, but it might take away from the on-ice atmosphere. Then again, we could probably all do without That Guy standing up and banging the glass everytime players skate by.
Seattle would like to have an NHL team, obviously, but it all depends on a couple of issues. First and foremost, it needs an NBA team. This arena will not be built if there are no Seattle Sonics; it's as simple as that. After that the city needs to have a team, which seems possible right now with the uncertain nature of the Phoenix Coyotes and the possibility of expansion.
If Seattle does get that arena, I hope the team will have green as a primary color like the Sonics. It will just look better in the arena. That, and I hope they add those benches. Where else is Pierre McGuire going to broadcast from?