Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 7/27/12
Nhl-tampa-bay-lightning
Seattle Coyotes?

The Headline: Chicago investor Don Levin in talks with Bellevue officials about NHL arena in Seattle!

Yesterday per a tweet from Dave Softy Mahler, and a picture snapped by our own Dave B at Safeco we confirmed the Great one – Wayne Gretzky was in Seattle on Wednesday.

Told you yesterday Bellevue/NHL story was about 2 heat up. Here u go seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/hockey/20…

— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) July 27, 2012

Now we’re hearing via the Seattle Times tonight that Levin, the owner of the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, has emerged as another possible investor, with 100 million to invest in a NHL arena for the city of Seattle.

With King County set to possibly vote on Chris Hansen’s 500m NHL and NBA arena proposal, and the Great One being in the emerald city, everything’s looking positive. Even though the Times found out from Darren Blake (#99′s agent) that Gretzky flew to Seattle to see his friends.

“It’s probably the best market in the United States that does not have a hockey team demographically,” Levin told The Seattle Times in a telephone interview Thursday.

Deep Thoughts 101

As true as this maybe, I think basketball will flourish in this market, as seen before.  With the right arena, and the right backing like Hansen is bringing, their should be no problem in Sonics 2.0 being successful once again.

The Vancouver Grizzlies are long gone, the Trail Blazers are 3 hours down the I-5, so all Washington and British Columbia natives will be focused on the NBA franchise.

Wayne Gretzky was in Seattle on Wednesday brushing up on his NHL (Photo NWSB Instagram)

This is where I think the possibility of an NHL franchise coming to Seattle will run into trouble.

Last season, the Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena averaged 102.5 capacity; proving that the Pacific Northwest is a hockey hungry market.

How many fans in the Seattle area, who have already devoted their fandom to Vancouver, would be willing to drop close to $60 on a ticket to a team they are just getting to like?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certain another franchise can co-exist in the Northwest with the ‘Nucks, but there must be strong ownership.

Consider this

Which teams are most likely to relocate to Seattle (seeing as Gary Bettman has ruled out expansion for now)?

Phoenix is the obvious choice, joining them is the New York Islanders, whose lease at Nassau Coliseum ends in 2015; around the same time the potential arena would be close to finished.

Both these teams haven’t been the model of success this decade, with the exception of the past few seasons in Phoenix.

By the time relocation rolls around, the Islander franchise will still be in turmoil, with a young core good, but not ready to compete.

Phoenix will be in the cellar again, their flash in the pan goalie long gone, and only stars Shane Doan and Keith Yandle either traded or retired. 

To avoid a situation that Seattle fans have seen far too often, with the likes of Ken Behring, Howard Lincoln and Howard Schultz ruining franchises, the owners must be fully invested in it for the team to succeed.

Tune in Monday as the fate of the NBA/NHL in Seattle in the near-future might be at stake.

One things for sure, like all teams, you can bet Seattle fans will cheer their heart out until they can’t anymore.

© Alistair Corp for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | One comment |

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Post tags: BC, Chris Hansen, Don Levin, Grizzlies, Howard Lincoln, Howard Schultz, Ken Behring, NBA, NBA Arena, new york islanders, NHL, NHL Arena, NHL Franchise, NHL in Seattle, Phoenix Coyotes, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle sports blogs, Seattle sports news, Seattle Washington, Sonics, Trail Blazers, vancouver, Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Grizzlies, Washington, Wayne Gretzky

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