I spent some time looking through twitter feeds and facebook posts to recap this busy year. There were more events, quotes and news worthy items than is listed below. I tried to keep it high level and focused on events that shaped the NHL to Seattle news. Nothing on Markam, Las Vegas and very little on Quebec news. If you have questions or feedback on items I am missing, let me know.
January 21 – Announcement that a deal is in place for the sale of the Sacramento Kings being to Hansen-Ballmer group with intent to move to Seattle. Subject to NBA Board of Governors approval.
January 22 – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announces pledge to keep Kings in Sacramento.
January 28 – Coyotes deal with Greg Jamison falls through. NHL says they are still committed to Glendale. At this time, NHL to Seattle is secondary to NBA team but with rumblings on the Kings, the door starts to open for Coyotes moving to Seattle.
January 29 – Paul Kelly, former NHLPA Executive Director, says to a media scrum in Toronto, long term plan was to get the NHL to 32 teams.
January 31 – Two separate reports that the league would prefer to relocate a team to Seattle and expand to Quebec City & Toronto.
February 22 – ILWU lawsuit against City of Seattle regarding SoDo Arena plan dismissed.
March 5 – Seattle Arena design passed by review panel.
March 7 – NHL & NHLPA agree on NHL realignment plan. The 4 division alignment two eastern divisions with 8 teams and two western divisions with 7 teams. Adding more speculation that the league would like to add two more teams in the west.
March 9 – Stern publically states Sacramento Kings Ownership Group deal too low which opens the door for a higher bid. This could be perceived as the moment Stern is guiding the Sac group to keep the team in Sacramento.
March – Tough to nail down exact date but the Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, announces several “whales” of potential owners. The whales started with Ron Burkle, Mark Mastrov and ended with Vivek Randive.
March 23 – Mayor Kevin Johnson announces arena deal. The key here is that the potential Kings owner will not be part of the funding plan.
March 27 – Multiple reports that Leblanc and Gosbee are lead group to purchase the Coyotes with the intent to keep the team in Glendale.
March 27 – 7% Minority Stake of Sacramento Kings that was auctioned off in Bankruptcy court was sold to Chris Hansen.
April 7 – Gary Bettman states that preliminary research that he has seen indicates that Seattle would be a “very strong hockey market“. (This could be the first time I heard Bettman mention Seattle.)
April 8 – Ron Burkle is officially out of Sacramento Kings ownership group due to conflict of interest based on NBA League rules.
April 12 – Local Sacramento ownership group announces plan to keep Kings in Sacramento and match dollar for dollar the Hansen-Ballmer deal.
May 15 – NBA Board of Governors reject sale of Sacramento Kings to Hansen-Ballmer group.
May 18 – I did not win powerball so officially announce that I will not be part of any ownership group trying to bring an NHL team to Seattle.
May 25 – NHL and Renaissance Sports Group (Gosbee/LeBlanc) have a contingent deal in place to purchase Phoenix Coyotes.
June 4 – Herb Kohl says new arena will see to it that Bucks stay in Milwaukee. This begins Kohl’s public appeal to get some kind of arena subsidies from the state of Wisconsin.
June 12 – Ken Campbell from the Hockey News, reports that Phoenix Coyotes would move to Seattle and not Quebec should the City of Glendale not reach a lease agreement with LeBlanc and Gosbee.
June 14 – On Hockey Night in Canada’s Hot Stove, Elliotte Freidman from the CBC reveals that the Vancouver Canucks were blocked from moving their AHL affiliate to Key Arena. Additionally Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza are identified as potential ownership group that would move the Coyotes to Seattle.
June 15 – Chris Daniels confirms that a potential NHL ownership group has met with Seattle City officials & the Mayor McGinn had a phone call with the NHL offices and states that Seattle is a plan B scenario.
June 17 – Reports surface that Jeremy Roenick will lead hockey operations for Bartoszek/Lanza group.
June 21 – Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn tweets that he is confident that Key Arena will be ready to host NHL 2013-14 season if necessary.
July 2 – City of Glendale approves lease agreement with prospective Phoenix Coyotes owners Leblanc & Gosbee. Coyotes are staying in Glendale.
July 24 – NHL Deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, says the Pacific Northwest will get serious consideration in the future in case of a relocation or expansion scenario
August 1 – Report out of Portland is that Paul Allen might be interested in NHL franchise with the intent to have a team in Portland.
August 6 – Peter Steinbrueck defeated in Seattle Mayoral August Primary election. Steinbrueck was an opponent in the SoDo Arena plan.
August 15 – City of Seattle publishes first draft of Environmental Impact Study of Sodo arena. Proponents claim no red flags while opposition states assumptions are bad and should be thrown out.
September 9 – Sonics Arena rebranded to Seattle Arena in new design mockups. No official reason for change but hockey fans view this as a sign that hockey could lead the way to get shovels in the ground.
September 26 – Chris Hansen meets with NHL leaders in New York City. Meetings are downplayed and Bettman says they are “routine” and “people should not look into it”.
October 29 – Maple Leafs CEO & Powerhouse NHL Executive Tim Leiweke says NHL has a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the NHL in Seattle.
November 5 – Ed Murray elected as new mayor of Seattle. Murray’s campaign message on SoDo Arena was that he will support the MOU that was signed by Seattle City Council.
November 9 – Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban states to the Dallas Morning News that he is open to NBA expansion. States, it’s a “good chance” of it happening.
December 3 – Reported that there are 3 groups interested in bringing an NHL Franchise to Seattle. Jeremy Roenick is identified as heading up one of the groups and was seen in Seattle, presumably to meet with Hansen.
December 10 – Bettman confirms there is interest in expansion and says they are listening. Reiterates that there is no prioritized list at NHL headquarters.