It looks as if Seattle might be following in the footsteps of Las Vegas.
The NHL has accepted the city’s expansion application and will consider whether or not to formally make plans to expand to the Emerald City.
This means that the NHL will accept the city’s expansion application (if accepted, the fee would be a whopping $650 million USD—Vegas paid $500 million) and allow Seattle to start a season ticket drive.
Because NHL commissioner Gary Bettman absolutely insists on new arenas for every team, at all costs, the signing off on an arena renovation by Seattle’s mayor represents a key (sorry, had to) move in the city’s bid. The arena approval was also made with an eye bringing basketball back to the city. The Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
One has to think that the city’s odds of wrangling an NHL team are pretty high. After all, the NHL is currently holding 31 teams and there’s every reason to suggest that the league would want to make that a nice, round 32.
There’s also the fact that the Western Conference currently sits at 15 teams, eight in the Pacific Division and seven in the Central. A team like Arizona would be moved over to the Central so that Seattle could slide into the Pacific, becoming a natural rival for Vancouver.
While there’s been tons of talk about Quebec City coming back into the NHL’s plans, that idea was seemingly deferred to another day when the NHL moved forward with the Vegas bid and not Quebec’s. Upon the news about Seattle, Bettman said that Quebec is not going to be considered at this time.
It’s an interesting question for Vancouver fans: would you rather have another Canadian team join the fold, or a team in Seattle?
Another good question: what should a Seattle NHL team be called?