The NHL and the Emerald City

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.)