It’s only a matter of time before Seattle gets an NHL team.
That’s been obvious since the Emerald City approved a $660 million renovation of KeyArena last month in an effort to lure a hockey team – as well as an NBA franchise – in the not too distant future.
The NHL reacted quickly to the news, announcing the next day that they would accept an application from Seattle for an expansion franchise. The NBA, meanwhile, doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to add a new team.
With a new arena, Seattle checks all the boxes from the perspective of the National Hockey League, including a stable ownership group headlined by former Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke.
On Tuesday Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York, and it sounds like it went well. I mean, she’s already talking about the Stanley Cup.
“Bringing the NHL to the new Seattle Center Arena is an opportunity of a lifetime for Seattle,” Durkan said in the statement. “There’s no doubt that Seattle is the best sports town in the country with passionate hockey fans. I’m looking forward to working with the ownership group and the NHL to help bring a team – and the Stanley Cup – back to Seattle. We will continue to protect taxpayers and seize great opportunities.”
Need further proof that Seattle will be getting a team? A member of the potential ownership group has already purchased domains for 13 potential team names:
Given its proximity to Vancouver, it’s no surprise the Canucks have been supportive of a Seattle NHL team. But that support has been met with (playful) gamesmanship from Durkan.
“The Canucks are excited to come here and get beat,” she said in December, showing the kind of bravado that would make the Vegas Golden Knights Twitter account proud.
On Tuesday she continued the trash talk:
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) January 23, 2018
Given how Vegas has done in their first season – they’re currently neck-and-neck with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the NHL standings – perhaps Seattle’s mayor has reason to be confident.