When Victor Coleman's name became publicly attached to Seattle's efforts to acquire an NHL team, it seemed to bring some needed optimism to the movement. The Vancouver, British Columbia, native and wealthy CEO and president of Hudson Pacific Properties has boosted optimism even further with recent comments to Chris Daniels of KING 5 News in Seattle.
"I think the demographic base [in Seattle] and the desire of the NHL in that marketplace is the perfect match right now. The expansion of the NHL into the Pacific Northwest, with Vancouver and the presiding area, makes it a perfect fit," said Coleman. "There are built in synergies. That's a 'Day 1' rivalry."
It's clear Coleman has the support of the NHL. One league executive describes him as "the real deal," and he was flanked by the NHL's top leaders during a clandestine meeting in Seattle back in May.
Coleman and co-investor Jonathan Glaser, who sits on the board of Hudson Pacific, met face to face with Seattle mayor Ed Murray and King County executive Dow Constantine in separate meetings in Seattle. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly were also on hand. The parties all left without an agreement or plan to move forward. Coleman says he feels like he's made progress since.
"We have a clear path," he said.
That clear path sounds nice, but it's certainly not a simple process going forward. Seattle is still waiting on bringing an NBA team back so that Chris Hansen, the man leading the efforts to bring basketball back, can build the new arena he has promised the city.
Coleman has held some positive meetings with Hansen, however according to KING 5:
Two sources with knowledge of the talks between Hansen and Coleman say that the two potential owners met in person a couple of weeks ago, and have been actively talking for months. In fact, according to the sources, the two potential ownership groups have signed a "non-binding" agreement which lays out the terms for Coleman's contribution to the project and his potential revenue streams for a hockey franchise.
So there's definitely some movement afoot on this awfully hot button topic.
Additionally, there's a chance Coleman could push for the city and Hansen to push on with building the arena if they could secure a hockey team before an NBA team. That may be a tough sell as Daniels reports it could be difficult to get the memorandum of understanding changed to allow for hockey to come in before basketball.
Efforts to buy current NBA teams and relocate them have not yet been successful and one of Hansen's previous major investors, Steve Ballmer, just bought the Los Angeles Clippers with no plans to move them.
On top of all of that, there's no clear indication the NHL will either expand and/or relocate a team in the near future.
There are going to be plenty of ups and downs to this saga, but it seems that Coleman has the business acumen and the passion to get something like this accomplished. It will be very interesting to watch progress, but anything concrete may still be years away