As you might have heard by now there were was a lot of news about the NHL coming to Seattle over the weekend which stem from two articles by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. The first article stated that the NHL has no plans to expand to Seattle right now due to the lack of an Arena plan and the second article states that that prospective Seattle NHL Franchise owner Ray Bartoszek is looking at revamped Key Arena as a potential site for a future NHL team. Both articles are worth the read because there will be several good details I will leave out.
Long story short, neither Bartoszek or any other group has been able to work out a deal with Chris Hansen to build the Arena. As I wrote on SonicsRising over the weekend, this should not surprise anyone due to the complexity of the deal/transaction. With the recent statements by Adam Silver on (lack of) expansion in the NBA, Hansen will need some assurances or additional $ to build the arena. Without the guarantee of a NBA team, the asking contribution price must be huge. Not everyone has the 21st richest man in america as their investment partner and Bartoszek/Lanza might be wealthy but not that wealthy. (Someone else at SonicsRising but this excellent piece together on why the impasse)
As the original Geoff Baker piece states, Ray Bartoszek is looking at other options which includes a KeyArena remodel. It is great to see Bartoszek looking at other options, instead of waiting for the NBA. By the looks of it, the NBA won’t be expanding in the next 5 years so it only makes sense to explore alternatives. I do not know if the Key is an option but I don’t think Ray knows either but we will never know unless someone looks into it.
Meanwhile there appears to be a completely separate group poking around Bellevue at the viability of an arena over there. As you might recall, Don Levin was looking over there about 3 years ago but called off the hounds when it appeared Hansen grabbed the momentum with his SoDo site. It is not clear if Levin is part of this group looking at Bellevue. This should be another good sign there are people interested in this area for a team.
I will never forget the Don Levin quote that the “Seattle market is like San Jose on steroids.” The NHL and prospective owners know there is something special about this market and it almost seems like they are waiting for us before expanding. Stay Positive.
Here is an updated visual on where we are at for landing a team. Lots of unknown on the Bellevue and KeyArena/Seattle Center Scenarios: