If you have been paying any attention to any hockey news in the last 24 hours, you may have heard that Gary Bettman & Bill Daly, visited Seattle last week to meet with King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. Both sides are saying the meeting was informal and the NHL wanted to check the status of the meeting.
The original news broke from our local man Chris Daniels here: http://www.king5.com/news/arena/NHL-Commissioner-makes-personal-visit-to-KC-Exec-and-Seattle-Mayor-259126371.html
OK, this is great news but before we get too excited, the hurdles still remain. I love that Bettman took the time to visit our local officials and it sends a great message how seriously he values Seattle as a potential hockey market. If nothing else, he is building a relationship and relationships take time. It is clear that the NHL really likes the Seattle market, a comment that was stated by Daniels, Geoff Baker and Brian Robinson last Saturday at our Hockey Hangout media panel at the Angry Beaver.
The Arena. The Arena is still the largest hurdle facing the prospects of landing an NHL team in Seattle. Actual next step is under debate. Brian Robinson from ArenaSolution seems to think the Letter of Intent (LOI) must be signed with the NHL and prospective ownership groups. Geoff Baker believes that a conditional LOI can be signed to begin the steps of negotiating with Hansen/Ballmer to partner on the arena. I tend to lean in the camp that says if an LOI is signed with the NHL and prospective NHL ownership group, chances are they are already close on a deal with Hansen/Ballmer and all parties are reasonably confident that opening the MOU for an NHL first scenario can and will be achievable.
Next Board of Governors Meeting
This might be all leading up to some kind of proposal, announcement or resolution at the next NHL Board of Governors meeting that will take place during the Stanley Cup Finals. Is it possible that we hear something come out of the BOG meeting? Perhaps, but I think it is a relatively low probability of happening. Probably the same odds I would have given the New York Rangers in coming back from a 3-1 deficit to the Pittsburgh Penguins.