Phoenix on the Move?
Just a few months ago everybody in Seattle was raving about the return of the Seattle Supersonics. After Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer came forward and attempted to purchase the ailing Sacramento Kings, thousands of Emerald City residents believed they would soon be able to, once again, watch the NBA play in Seattle.
Unfortunately, around a month ago, the NBA Board of Governors voted to keep the Kings in Sacramento after standout *cough* *cough* mayor Kevin Johnson and his ownership group secured a deal for themselves.
But though Seattle fans will have to wait at least a little longer before the NBA returns to their city, it appears as though fans have sparked enough interest in another sport to bring it to the city. Yes, Seattle sports fans, you may have a professional hockey team soon.
Originally the Winnipeg Jets, the Phoenix Coyotes officially touched down in Arizona in 1996 and were eventually relocated to Glendale in 2003. A franchise that hasn’t always received the best fan support, the team has been owned by the NHL since 2009 and is once again looking for a place to play, with Phoenix being the most recommended destination. But that still doesn’t mean Seattle doesn’t have a shot at getting this franchise, especially with the unstable negotiations that have been taking place to keep them in Phoenix.
Here’s what we know.
Though the NHL still owns the Coyotes, a Canadian ownership group with members George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc has come forward and offered to purchase the team for $170 million. Wanting to keep the team in the city they are currently in, they have had a tough time negotiating with the City of Glendale.
Whereas Glendale has said they can spend about $6 million on Jobing.com Arena every year, the NHL usually wants between $13 million and $15 million, a difference that has created all the problems so far in the negotiations that have been taking place.
However, as reported by the Seattle Times, the two sides have reportedly reached a deal after the potential ownership group found more revenue for the arena. With that said, the state of flux that the two sides are in could pose future problems for reaching a deal in time, especially with the NHL expressing its desires to have this all decided soon.
If there is no formal deal reached by the Board of Governors meeting on June 27, Seattle could very well be in the running for the Coyotes, a move that would create quite the rivalry between the City of Seattle and Vancouver.
I really believe this would be a great move for Seattle. While the NBA and Chris Hansen’s group are still in talks about potentially bringing an NBA expansion team to Seattle, already having a hockey team in the city would pay huge dividends in creating a revenue-sharing plan for a new arena and site to host both basketball and hockey contests.
Aside from that, I believe Seattle has a passion for hockey that has really been left untested so far. Right now, Vancouver is the closest thing to an NHL team Seattle has for, and the numerous Canadians in the city could be clamoring for a team to cheer for closer to their home.
The Seattle side of the deal is led by Jeremy Roenick and would have the team playing in Key Arena until Chris Hansen’s new arena is built.
A team in Seattle would also, obviously, mean a budding rivalry between them and the Vancouver Canucks. One of the perennial powerhouses and historic franchises of the NHL, a big rivalry in the northwest between two hockey teams would pay huge dividends for the popularity of the sport.
I can already imagine the two passionate fan bases clashing year-in and year-out as their teams chase after a shot at the NHL Playoffs. Glorious.
But aside from how “cool” it would be to have a team in Seattle, reality sometimes hurts. It appears as though, after reading articles from Seattle and Phoenix/Glendale, that the Coyotes will remain where they are. This leaves expansion as one of the options to bring an NHL team to the City of Seattle, but that would be a few years down the road.