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Seattle Is Probably Getting An NHL Team — Bad For Hockey Fans, Good For Seattle

Seattle NHL Team Arena

If the Seatle Times is correct, Seattle is getting an NHL expansion team. This is moderately bad news for hockey fans, and very good news for Seattle.

This is after a Feb. 27 report from the Seattle Times that the league is expected to issue a letter of intent “to award a franchise in coming weeks to one of three potential Seattle ownership groups. Sources have identified the three main candidates as groups headed by New York investment banker Ray Bartoszek, Chicago businessman Don Levin and the Steve Ballmer-Chris Hansen partnership formed back in 2012.”

By “this,” the article means that Gary Bettman said that the idea is “fun,” in an interview. I’m not sure that adds to the report’s legitimacy, but it does really sound like this is happening. I guess we’ll know for sure “in coming weeks.”

This has been in the works for a while, and apparently the biggest obstacles are “finding a solid ownership group and maintaining progress on the construction of a new arena in downtown Seattle near Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field.”

As a hockey fan, it’s annoying to think the product would be diluted. And one expansion team always suggests the probability of a second — the likeliest option here being Quebec City, where a new arena is already being built. Las Vegas, Kansas City, and a second team for Toronto are all ideas that have been floated.

But the fans don’t have a say in the matter, and this would undoubtedly be cool for Seattle.

And, you heard it here first: Troll the NBA and name this team the Supersonics, and reap the profits. Maybe they can even get Shawn Kemp to keep eating and do that sumo-wrestler-goalie thing that people like to suggest, science be damned.

[Sporting News]

UPDATE: Some more good quotes from the Star Tribune.

On expansion: “There’s a lot of interest. We’re hearing from multiple groups in Seattle, … in Vegas, in Kansas City, in Quebec City. We haven’t decided to engage in a formal expansion process, but as we always do, we listen to expressions of interest. … There may be good reasons to expand, there may be not. It’s not something we’ve seriously considered yet.”

(Russo note: Expansion’s coming. The league is perfectly set up for 32. Seattle will obviously be one, and even though people always seems to poo-poo Vegas, my sources tell me this is a legit option as MGM Resorts builds an arena behind New York-New York).

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