Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

NHL Watching as Seattle Arena Inches Forward

The NHL is apparently watching closely as Seattle's Downtown Design Review Board gets ready for tonight's public review of the design for a proposed NHL/NBA Arena spearheaded by local investor Chris Hansen.

Sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, believe the NHL is now watching the status of the project, and gauging corporate and fan interest in a potential expansion franchise.  Hansen has been seeking a partner who could be a tenant in a new building.  Sources say NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been quietly pushing owners to award a franchise to Seattle, perhaps as early as next year.  The NHL has denied that any talks have taken place, and sources suggest nothing has been finalized.

The NHL's Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly previously told KING5 there is not even a "handshake agreement" on a deal for a team.  But he told fans in Vancouver this summer "I think Seattle would be a great market for the NHL."  Ray Bartoczek and Anthony Lanza both expressed interest in buying the Phoenix Coyotes earlier this year, and relocate them to Seattle.  The NHL has said repeatedly that playing in Key Arena, on a interim basis, would not be an issue.

(Full Story)

Tonight's review will focus on the aesthetic and design aspects of the proposal, but a review of a draft Environmental Impact Study (identifying potential environmental impacts and alternatives) is also ongoing which included public meetings last Friday and this Thursday, and a period for filing written comments closing September 30th. Comments received from the public will be addressed in the final Environmental Impact Study for the proposal. City Staff have identified a number of potential issues that need to be addressed in the 750,000 square foot proposal which calls for the demolition of 8 existing buildings in the Seattle downtown.

The latest design for the proposal was submitted in advance of tonight's meeting.

The Seattle Arena cleared a hurdle last week when the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled the City and King County had not violated the State Environmental Protection Act when they executed a Memorandum of Understanding that contemplated the allocation of up to $200 million in public funds for the arena project. The Court found that the City and County were not bound under the Memorandum of Understanding to accept the Hansen proposal when the required environmental review was completed. Since that lawsuit was filed, a revised Memorandum of Understanding has been signed that envisions an 'NBA only' scenario, which would see only $120-145 Million in public funds invested in the project.

It appears neither the developer, the City, nor the NHL has completely given up on an NHL Franchise eventually locating in the Emerald City - of course, with the relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes off the table, where that team would come from is a matter of speculation. 

It may just be too early in the process for the NHL to rule anything out, especially if closing the door completely now results in a final arena that can't take on a franchise if one becomes available down the road.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Phoenix Coyotes, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bill+daly, chris+hansen, seattle+arena

Comments

Primis's avatar

You should credit your source you quoted somewhere in the first paragraph.


As for the story, why does the NHL need to bend over backwards to get into Seattle?  Pro Tip:  If they have to, then it’s not a good enough market.  The way this works is the market BEGS for a team, not the other way around.

Posted by Primis on 09/17/13 at 01:03 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

If the NHL makes market desire the standard, they’ll have to award teams to Hamilton, Quebec City, etc etc before any American market, and it’s pretty clear they’re interested in that.

Posted by Savage Henry on 09/17/13 at 01:55 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

The first paragraph (after the quote) is a summary of a variety of meeting notices, staff reports, committee agendas and committee mandates I read. That’s also how I learned about the revised MOU. It’s not really sourced from one place, but in hindsight I suppose I could have cited it as ‘according to city/public documents’ or somesuch. I’ll note that for the future.

I don’t get the impression that the NHL is begging anyone, but if they don’t signal some interest there’s less chance the arena is purpose built for hockey, which could potentially mean less opportunity for future expansion.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 09/17/13 at 02:07 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I don’t get the impression that the NHL is begging anyone, but if they don’t signal some interest there’s less chance the arena is purpose built for hockey, which could potentially mean less opportunity for future expansion.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 09/17/13 at 02:07 PM ET

Everything I’ve read about this situation indicates that they really are making the NHL try and beg.

I’ve been all for giving Seattle a try but as this drags on and the NHL is treated as secondary to the joke that is the NBA, I’ve really lost interest in Seattle as a market.  It’s not even that they’re trying to get the NBA and/or the NHL in, they’re trying to get the NBA back and ohbytheway, maybe they’ll be so kind as to allow the NHL in as well.

Posted by Primis on 09/17/13 at 03:11 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

I actually (maybe ironically) haven’t read much media on this. My background is in municipal planning and environmental law, so I’ve been looking more at the process documents.

It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the politicians feel their bread is buttered by appealing to the basketball fans, though. Seattle had and lost a pro basketball franchise, and the main push behind the arena project is undoubtedly based on the desire to bring one back. That said, the NHL isn’t going to be the top sport in many markets - even ones where it would probably be very well received.

To the extent that the NHL can give itself maximum flexibility for a future expansion or relocation without expending a great deal of money or effort, it’s probably worth it - even in places where there isn’t a huge public outcry (at the moment) to bring in a hockey team.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 09/17/13 at 04:13 PM ET

Avatar

Everything I’ve read about this situation indicates that they really are making the NHL try and beg.

Seattle will never be seen as begging for either an NBA or NHL team.  That is the main reason the NBA left. When Stern tried to blackmail the city with the Okies, the reaction was take the team. So the NBA left. Most fans in Seattle would like the NHL as an alternative to the NBA.  There is still strong dislike of the league and Stern in the city. Poltically no government official will agree to fully finance a new arena, so the attitude is if the NBA and NHL want to expand to Seattle, the owners can pay for the building. It is a very similar attitude that exists in San Francisco, the public will not be seen as caving into the leagues or ownership. This gives the impression they want the leagues to beg. As a rich city, many view sports as something for the riff raff to enjoy, sports are for folks who don’t live in the city.

Posted by timbits on 09/17/13 at 10:58 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

image

image

image