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NBA Relo Committee Recommendation a setback for bringing NHL to the area

No doubt, yesterday was a setback for our hopes in getting an NHL team to come to Seattle. We were not banking on the Coyotes as they seemed more of a pipe dream than reality. Reality is that we need that Arena built as soon as possible to see an NHL team here as soon as possible and the only way that happens in the current framework is to land an NBA team first.

For those that don’t know, the NBA Relocation committee recommended against the relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. The crash course on why that is important is that the only way an NHL team comes here is if there is a legitimate arena, the only way the SoDo arena gets built is if the city gets an NBA team. Several people have asked, why doesn’t the Hansen group buy an NHL team. Hansen isn’t interested in owning an NHL team. He is very supportive but it just isn’t his passion. So then why not someone else? Because the MOU is with the Hansen group and the City, Hansen owns all the land and with no guarantees of owning an NBA team in Seattle, it isn’t worth the risk for him.

There are still a few loose ends that need to be tied up like Hansen’s statement last night as well as the Finance committee did not issue a recommendation (on the Sale) which was expected last night. The Hansen Statement is interesting, we will need to see how this thing plays out. It could mean lawsuits but I doubt it. Litigation is probably not going to make the owners happy and if you are trying to get in the club, it’s best to behave. As far as the lack of a finance committee vote, this smells like some legal positioning by the league to avoid anti-trust claims. Basically they can say that Hansen can own the team for the price he offered but he just can’t move the team. How that will work, I have no clue. I don’t see how Hansen would own the Kings in Sacramento.

One thing is for certain, I believe in Hansen. I love his transparency in buying the Kings with the intent on moving them. He has worked very hard with the City on a realistic sustainable plan with plenty of safeguards in place for the city. He will not quit here and Imagine there are several owners out there that would love to sell their team for what he has offered the Kings. Milwaukee, Memphis and Charlotte are the most likely teams that could be on the block.

As far as hockey scenarios, I wish there was a way the Coyotes could remain in Glendale but it seems like time is running out. I think it is likely that the Coyotes are headed to Quebec next season. I know I am in the minority here but I still believe someone could make the team successful in Glendale but it is going to be very challenging to convince anyone that it is a sound business model. I believe in the sport and I think an good owner can make it work. There is one scenario that I don’t think is farfetched. Gosbee-Leblanc purchase the Coyotes, negotiate a short term lease agreement and if they can’t make the $$$ work, move the team to Seattle. That will give time for the NBA thing to play out as well and get the arena going. Very speculative in nature but I don’t think it is that big of a stretch. If the Coyotes don’t come we are probably looking at expansion which might not be that bad either.


Update: Craig Morgan did an excellent piece that comments about the true cost of running the arena in Glendale. It is worth a read to understand the complexity of these things. 

John Barr
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