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[Report] NHL requesting Seattle team for 2014-15 season and onwards


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NHL expansion is going to happen.

We know this because contraction will never happen thanks to the NHLPA, and because the NHL’s owners have an unquenchable thirst for expansion money. We also know this because we’re all not complete idiots, and understand that if one conference has 16 teams and the other conference has 14 teams … welp …

Thus the question has never been “if” but “when” and “where,” and one of the answers has increasingly has become “Seattlesince the city committed to a state-of-the-art arena project.

Mitch Levy is a morning host on 950 KJR in Seattle, and he’s set hearts in the Emerald City aflutter again with news on Wednesday morning that Commissioner Gary Bettman is pushing for an expansion team in Seattle by 2014.

From his Twitter feed:

“The short of it is: I'm hearing that the NHL Commish is encouraging the board of governors to make an expansion team available to Seattle. If approved, the new expansion
Seattle NHL club
would cost approximately $275M. It would begin playing here in the 2014-2015 season. All of this contingent upon 1) a solid ownership coming forward and buying the team and 2) the new arena staying on track to be built.

“The ownership group that was interested in buying the Phoenix franchise remains in play here, amongst others.”

Levy says the current arena deal would have to be “tweaked” to keep construction on track. The fate of the arena was never specifically tied to Seattle landing an NBA team, which is good, because that whole thing with the Kings could have worked out better.

So is the NHL coming to Seattle?

Former NHLPA boss Paul Kelly said in January that the NHL had discussed a 32-team league with him and that expansion would happen in the next 2-3 years. Whether that was Kelly speaking out due to his own aspirations – he was the face of the arena movement in Markham, Ont. – or speaking the truth, it was shot down by the NHL.

Via ESPN:

"There’s never been a plan to expand to 32 teams," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com Wednesday morning. "Whether we talked conceptually at some point if things are going well whether we could expand to 32, I’m sure we suggested we could, but we certainly never reached the point where that was appropriate when
was executive director of the NHLPA and I’d say we haven’t got there at this point.

"I’d say any sports league aspires to be in a position where expansion is a good idea," added Daly. "But again, it’s got to be the right circumstances."

Are the right circumstances by the 2014-15 season? Potentially. It does come down to ownership, assuming the building works out. And that might not be a problem.

Again: If we had our druthers, there would be relocation to Seattle and expansion to Toronto and Quebec City, where the NHL can name its expansion price and get it.

But hockey’s coming to Seattle. It’s just a matter of when.

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The two expansion teams have to be in the west, unless if they are going to switch the teams in the divisions around.

Seattle for the Pacific and either Vegas, Kansas City or Houston for the Central is what's going to happen. The only way that QC gets a team is through either relocation or if Detroit moves back to the Central.

I always wondered why Saskatchewan was never considered in terms of having a hockey club. They have a pretty sizable population and the best CFL fans (not sure if it would translate over to the NHL).

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Ackerly, right....Owner of the Sonics, thanks for the reminder.

I wonder if two legitimate Seattle guys who got screwed in that fiasco are involved in the new potential ownership group. Would be cool to see them finally get thier team. MacFarland and some other guy. Too long ago to remember.

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Chris Larson (one of the early MS guys, a now retired MS exec, and current minority owner of the Mariners) and Bill MacFarland (former Seattle Totem) were the other guys that were COMPLETELY blindsided by the withdrawal of the application.

Larson probably isn't in on the new team since he's facing financial troubles.

And MacFarland is dead (8-12-11) so I guess He's out too.

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Expansion? I'd rather see the NHL cut a few teams, even though Seattle would make for a great Canuck rivalry. But I doubt the NHLPA would ever let that happen given the lost jobs.

I wonder where the other expansion team would go though. Perhaps they could move a team out west and simply expand to Quebec?

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Quebec City is one of the poorest options for an NHL team that exists. Not a major market, iffy ownership and already has their handout for government money. Cost of arena construction plus $275 million franchise fee. Don't hold your breath.

On the other end of the scale is southern Ontario. Rumours suggested that an expansion team in southern Ontario would sell for $500 million if opened to bidding. If the NHL sells into Seattle at $275 mil it makes the Ontario bid at $500 mil a hard finesse.

I want that Seattle franchise. It could make the dif between Van having a real CUP shot and not. Out west we take the close proximity of eastern based teams for granted. They have a hugh advantage in far less miles travelled and more practice time. It would mean another team in the same time zone. Bettman appears to want this so go Gary!

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