By Nate Hanson, Sports Radio KJR
It feels like May all over again. Elliotte Friedman of CBC told The Furness Show that the NHL could reward Seattle with an expansion franchise if the Coyotes stay in Phoenix.
“I would almost wonder if they expanded,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to me that the league would let this Seattle thing walk away.”
Déjà vu? Just a little over a month ago Sonics fans heard the same rumors. While it appears the NBA will return to Seattle, there is still no guaranteed date. Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer’s pitch to the NBA seemed too good to ignore. Friedman thinks Commission Gary Bettman is in a similar situation.
“Is the NHL gonna suddenly say to these guys, who have 220 million dollars, we think, to put into a team, ‘thanks but no thanks’?” he said. “I can’t imagine him [Bettman] letting them walk away.”
Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza are reportedly willing to purchase the Coyotes for $220 million. If Bartoszek and Lanza do notget public funding from the City of Glendale by July 2, they will reportedly move the Coyotes to Seattle.
That means the ball is still in the court of the Glendale City Council. Friedman said he is hearing that three council members are against funding the Coyotes, while three others support public funding. It could come down to newly-elected Mayor Jerry Weiers.
“One of the things that he ran on was that we have to stop giving these crazy subsidies for the Phoenix Coyotes,” Friedman said. “But since then, guys tell me he’s been showing up at games wearing a Coyotes jersey with ‘Mayor’ and ‘1’ on the back of it.”
Friedman went on to describe the quandary for Glendale. He said public jobs are being slashed, but that the city will lose a lot of money if the Jobing.com Arena, which hosts the Coyotes, is vacant.
“What are they willing to do, what are they not willing to do?” Friedman said. “And depending on what they choose, that’s gonna make the NHL’s decision for it.”
If the city of Glendale declines to fund the Coyotes, it seems the team will be in Seattle for the 2013-14 season. If so, KeyArena, which is not a hockey-friendly facility, will likely be the temporary home for the Coyotes.
“Are you willing to put up with short-term pain for long-term gain?” Friedman said. “I think if they knew they were getting a new arena, I think they would put up with the issue in the short-term.”
Although Friedman would not say the NHL’s arrival to Seattle is inevitable, he believes Seattle is as close as it’s ever been to getting an NHL team.
“Seattle’s chances have never been better than they are right now.”
Once again, Friedman would not leave out the possibility of expansion.
“They [Seattle] have two guys who are apparently willing to pay 220 million dollars to make it happen,” Friedman said. “If that’s the case, a league like the National Hockey League is not gonna turn that down if it’s actually there.”
You can listen to the entire interview below:
The inagural Mayor of Maple Valley Open comes your way on June 20 at Druids Glen Golf Course. It's a two-man scramble with plenty of great prizes to give away and all of the proceeds go to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.
The shotgun starts at 5:30 and it only costs $45 dollars - which includes Georgetown beer on the course and a BBQ after the round.
Here is the link to the website to sign up for the event.
By Nate Hanson, Sports Radio KJR
As each day of June is marked off the calendar it seems more and more likely that Seattle will have an NHL team for the 2013-14 season. Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West told The Furness Show that he expects a marriage between the NHL and Seattle in the near future.
“It’s gonna happen eventually,” he said. “This is something that’s gonna happen within the next several years and it’s gonna happen most likely before that arena gets eventually built.”
During CBC’s Hockey Night in America postgame show following Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, Elliotte Friedman revealed that the Vancouver Canucks intended to move its AHL team to KeyArena in Seattle. However, the Canucks were reportedly denied KeyArena because it “was not available for hockey.” Glenn Healy of CBC then announced that two investors are willing to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes for $220 million, and move them to Seattle if the group does not get what it wants from city of Glendale by July 2.
“Seattle is right now the number one American market that does not have an NHL team,” Rosen said. “Certainly when that new arena is built, there will be an NHL team there.”
But the July 2 deadline set by Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza could mean the NHL unites with Seattle before Chris Hansen’s new arena is standing, much less operational. KeyArena would likely house the Coyotes for a temporary time. It might not be available for AHL hockey, but it seems the former home of the Sonics is available to house an NHL team. With that said, KeyArena might not fit the definition of a hockey-friendly facility.
“It’s a building where of course you have one-third of one end of the rink just draped off where you can’t see anything from the upper deck,” Rosen said. “It’s not an ideal hockey rink.”
However, Rosen cites Tampa Bay and Phoenix as franchises that played in temporary facility before moving to a hockey-friendly arena. Rosen mentioned that Seattle could possibly host home games throughout the Seattle area, including Kent and Everett, until the new arena is ready.
“It might be good to kind of expand the reach of the season-ticket base and play in some great hockey buildings,” Rosen said.
Furness noted that KeyArena only holds about a thousand more unobstructed viewing seats than Comcast Arena in Everett. One cure for the arena situation would be a winning team on the ice.
“If the team is good it’s [KeyArena] absolutely a good-short term solution,” Rosen said.
The Coyotes only have seven players signed for the 2013-14 season, and head coach Dave Tippett may not return next year. However, team captain and one of last year’s leading goal scorers, Shane Doan, will be back. Rosen said the Coyotes have a “very good, young, mobile defense.” The team won 21 games during the strike-shortened season and finished four points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
However, the decision off the ice needs to be made before Seattle fans can concern themselves about the product on the ice. It’s a decision that could come in two weeks.
“I think it’s 50/50,” Rosen said. “I think it happens. If not this year, I think by the 2014-15 season Seattle will definitely have a team.”
You can listen to the full interview here: