When word got out that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly reportedly were in Seattle to meet with city officials earlier this month, it raised some eyebrows. However, new details from that meeting are sure to pique hockey fans' interest in a rather meaningful way.
|Victor Coleman. (Hudson Pacific Properties)|
According to Chris Daniels of KING 5 News, who has been all over these developments, Bettman and Daly were joined by a Los Angeles-based real estate tycoon named Victor Coleman. The CEO of Hudson Pacific Properties, Coleman has ties to the Seattle area and reportedly has interest in purchasing an NHL team specifically for Seattle. Coleman was also joined by Jonathan Glaser of JMG Capital Management and Jeff Marks of Premier Partnerships.
Here's more on the newly-emerged Coleman from KING 5 News:
Coleman leads the publicly traded company and is believed to be, along with Glaser, the principals interested in buying an NHL team and bringing it to Seattle. He maintains a low profile, but the 52-year-old boasts a portfolio that includes 26 properties, two movie studios, plus four buildings in Seattle and another in Lynnwood. His company website says Hudson Pacific owns the 83 King Building, 505 First, Merrill Place, and Met Park North in Seattle, along with the Northview Center in Lynnwood.
So, what does it all mean? Possibly not much, but the fact that the NHL's top executives went to meet with the mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, and King County Executive Dow Constatine with a prospective owner is more than a little interesting.
Additionally, the Seattle mayor told Daniels that the purpose of the meeting wasn't as basic as obtaining a status report on the new arena as the NHL had previously said.
From KING 5 News:
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told KING 5 Thursday the purpose of the meeting was to ask for the city to change the Memorandum of Understanding for the Seattle Arena proposal.
That is interesting as well, but it is unclear what exactly would have to change. A summary of the MOU can be found here.
There are a lot of moving parts to any plan to bring a team to Seattle, not the least of which is the fact that the arena has not yet been built.
Local businessman Chris Hansen has pledged to build a $525 million arena, contingent on the purchase of an NBA team. An environmental review is due to be completed in September according to Daniels' report, which is also part of the process before the arena breaks ground, if ever. Hansen's group was blocked from purchasing the Sacramento Kings by NBA owners last May.
So that's obviously a bit of a hiccup, but it doesn't sound like the people of Seattle or Hansen are going to give up easily in their quest to bring back the NBA as well.
Getting back to the NHL side of things, Coleman is the third publicly known businessman with interest in bringing big league hockey to Seattle.
Maybe it's nothing, but it doesn't sound like nothing. Prior to this report from Daniels, the NHL played coy on the meeting with city and county officials and shared very little detail, including the fact that Coleman and others were in the meeting.
Though the NHL continues to say it has no plans for expansion, those plans could soon change. If the league can find serious owners with deep pockets and a suitable building becomes available in Seattle, it seems like a no-brainer location for the league to expand its footprint in the U.S. So much has to go right over the next few years to make that happen, though. This road is a long one yet.