07 February 2012

NBA to return to Seattle? NHL team to follow?

The Seattle Times reported that there is a serious effort, one that was not known until just a few days ago, to build a new arena in the Emerald City and to buy a team to restore the Seattle Supersonics and bring back the NBA back to town. And it appears that it could be possible than an NHL club is brought to that arena as well.

The paper reported that a wealthy hedge fund manager named Christopher Hansen has put forth a strong effort to build an arena to replace the outdated Key Arena. Why would he want to build an arena in the beautiful city (I have never been)? To be able to bring back the Sonics of course. Documents unearthed by the paper also showed that while the city has not directly said how it would get a team to Seattle, apparently they have been following the situation in Sacramento, where it has been an uphill battle to build an arena there to replace the outdated arenam whatever they call it. Considering the team came damn close to moving to Anaheim, I feel that the NBA would prefer that they move to Seattle which has a proven, and strong, NBA fanbase and they would not be testing to see how a third NBA team in the LA market will do, especially considering the Clippers are relevant again (or for the first time ever). A team also to keep an eye on to move to Seattle would be the Hornets, who are currently under league control. Neither move would require major realignment (Kings would stay in the Pacific, Hornets would swap with Oklahoma City in all likelihood).

The fact that an NHL team may be in the mix is pretty surprising to some, or at least to me and I usually count myself twice. Gary Bettman has shown interest in having a club up in Seattle because the Pacific Northwest would seem to be a solid hockey market as well as the fact it would make for a natural rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks. The clear top choice to move to a potential Seattle arena would be the Phoenix Coyotes, who are controlled by the NHL, who keeps on saying they do not want to move but the fanbase is clearly not there in Glendale. Plus it would not require realignment.

Of course this is all contingent on an area actually being built and we will believe this once ground is broken. But there seems to be hope again for the beloved Supersonics to return to town and hope is never a bad thing, usually.

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