A NHL team in Seattle has been the topic of discussion for years. It’s a proven sports market given the Seattle region’s strength with the NFL and MLB, and it also holds a sufficient demand for NHL.
Next week a large Seattle contingent of 30 sports, business and political leaders will be in Vancouver to talk about the NHL, how the Canucks operate, and other possibilities between the two cities.
It is safe to say an NHL team in Seattle will be a natural rival for Vancouver and league expansion would also make sense to help sustain the financially-troubled franchises in the weaker American markets.
If expansion is considered, it is possible that the NHL could pursue another realignment of the Eastern and Western Conferences or even add two new franchise teams to ensure both East and West divisions are balanced. Quebec City, Kansas City, Portland, the Toronto suburb of Markham, Saskatoon and Las Vegas are also contenders for franchise expansion.
The group from Seattle will be meeting with Canucks Sports & Entertainment, the BC Lions, Whitecaps FC and Tourism Vancouver and are slated to watch the Canucks vs. Blues matchup on Wednesday, February 26.
They will also discuss the possibility of holding joint marketing efforts and major sporting events between the two cities. Officials from both Vancouver and Seattle have previously floated the idea of hosting a joint Summer Olympics or Expo World’s Fair.
An announcement on NHL franchise expansion intentions could be made in the weeks following the Sochi 2014 Games. While any new franchise will be required to pay a $200 to $250-million expansion fee, the greatest hurdle with a Seattle NHL team will likely be with finding (or building) a suitable venue for its team to play on.
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Image: Seattle skyline via Shutterstock