My recent relocation from sunny Florida to rainy Seattle is no big secret to regular readers.
It's a great city where I landed a great job. But more important than that, as a hockey fan, I want to know if it could someday soon be home to an NHL franchise?
That was the subject of a news report on a local TV station — where I found that great job, by the way. One of our reporters headed up to Vancouver, B.C. where he'd lined up an exclusive interview with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly to talk about the future of the NHL in Seattle.
One quick note about the clip above before the comments explode. Our anchor mistakenly says the the Canucks won the series in six games instead of five. I don't know if it was a typo in the script or what.
Daly was in Vancouver for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals — which saw the Canucks clinch their first Stanley Cup Final berth since 1994 (on the strangest goal ever). He says the league has been in contact with a group in Seattle about purchasing a franchise but wouldn't go into anymore detail.
Clearly, I'd love nothing more than to have an NHL team in town — Vancouver is an irritating three-hour drive north (that's not counting the border crossing). It's worth it when the Lightning are visiting, however, such as the 5-4 OT Tampa victory I enjoyed back in December.
In our rundown meeting at work this afternoon, the question came up: Is the NHL looking to expand? Obviously not right now while several teams are struggling financially. And even if the deal is all but done to send the Thrashers to Winnipeg, Phoenix could be an option in 2012. But Quebec City is already licking its chops over the prospect of snatching the them away.
None of that really matters, though. Seattle still has no hope. The problem is the shocking lack of a proper arena here. KeyArena sits in the shadow of the Space Needle but seats only 11,000 for hockey. It's too big for the WHL. Too small for the NHL. And as Daly points out, obstructed views are a problem.
So for now, while the city lacks a building, the NHL is a long shot. And it doesn't look like there are any plans to change that in the foreseeable future. At the very least, I'll keep hoping for an NHL exhibition game or two at the Key to get Seattlites excited about the sport. Until then, I'll cheer on my Bolts from afar.
(And thank you for putting up with one more post about hockey in Seattle. I'll make it up to you.)
Wednesday brought another day of speculation with regard to the possible future of the NHL in Seattle — this time, bad news.
Just a day after Bill Daly said publicly that the league has been in contact with a group interested in bringing a team to the city, comes a new wrinkle.
KING 5 reporter Chris Daniels learned that a deal to buy a piece of land in nearby Bellevue to build a new arena had fallen through. This is unfortunate news but is by no means the end of the Seattle hockey story, I'm sure.
If you haven't watched the package above, you should. Chris tracked down former NHL defenseman Jamie Huscroft — a member of my Tampa Bay Lightning for parts of two seasons (the Vancouver Canucks too, by the way). He runs two hockey rinks in the area. He likes the idea of a Seattle-Vancouver rivalry just like many commenters on this post. (Though he's apparently misjudging the distance between the two cities.)
I'll keep you updated on this as more details trickle out. It's definitely not happening next season and you'd have to be extremely optimistic to think 2012-13 — and heck, the world might end by then, right? But if it doesn't, I'm eyeing the 100th anniversary of the formation of the old Seattle Metropolitans in 2015.
One more thing. A couple of you have asked about my team allegiance if, say, the Stinkin' Panthers were to relocate to Seattle. Would I still root for them? As long as they're not the Stinkin' Panthers, sure. But only because they'd be closest geographically and would bring the Lightning to town at least once a year. Nothing will change the fact that the Bolts are my team. I've said it before: You don't pick your team, it picks you.
And lastly, as far as naming ideas go, I think Metropolitans and Totems are equally terrible. In the comments, Erik brought up the Seattle Breakers — the Thunderbirds' old name. (Another team Jamie Huscroft played for, by the way. No kidding!) For more about Seattle's hockey history, check out SeattleHockey.net.
Breakers would get my vote all the way! Fits nicely with the Mariners and Sounders theme. And speaking of the Sounders, I wouldn't mind borrowing their colors too. Their official names are Sounder Blue, Rave Green and Cascade Shale. Yes, yes and yes.