NHL to Seattle 2015 News in Review

As we close the books on 2015, I thought it would be a good time to review the year in NHL to Seattle news.

January 15th  While speaking with Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski, Jeremy Roenick mentions that he is still pursuing an NHL franchise in Seattle and he says, “Key Arena is there. It’s old, and it’s decrepit, and you can’t refurbish it to have what the NHL calls a first-class facility.”  (remember that last part

January 16th The Final EIS on the Seattle’s Sodo Arena is pushed back another 3 months.

January 22nd Mayor Ed Murray confirms that he met with Gary Bettman and Adam Silver in New York to give an update on the arena and to show support for brining NHL and NBA franchise to Seattle. Although always pledging support for the existing Sodo Arena project/MOU, it was the first time Mayor Murray showed that it was a priority. To quote Chris Daniels from Channel 5, Seattle’s local NBC affiliate, “The one thing you can glean from Ed Murray’s comments tonight – is that the door is wide open for an NHL investor.”

January 24th NHL Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly weighs in on Seattle and implies that there are a “couple of variations that are interesting in the Seattle mix”. Hmmm…what could he mean by variations? (Keep reading)

February 3rd While speaking with a radio station in Vancouver, Gary Bettman mentions that they are getting interest from separate groups to put an arena in Bellevue and Tukwila. This is the first we hear of either of those cities as possible destinations.

February 10th Las Vegas launches their season ticket drive. This is the first official sign that the NHL is getting ready to start an expansion process.

February 13th Geoff Baker from the Seattle Times breaks down the three arena options with names. (things are getting real)

April 9th We launched our NHL to Seattle community store. This was practically demanded by you, the community. Sales have exceeded expectations and we love just getting the word out there. The NHL to Seattle community starts showing up everywhere.

April 28th Tukwila details continue to emerge and appears to be the front runner in the arena race. I take a shot on how the Tukwila option stacks up here.

May 1st Tukwila group files SEPA paperwork.

May 7th Final EIS for Sodo Arena released. Seattle Mayor, Ed Murray: “No major findings stand in the way of arena construction” and “We’re one step closer to bringing NHL hockey & NBA basketball to Seattle.” The SonicsArena group releases a statement on the Final EIS statement: “We also wanted to take the opportunity to reiterate that we remain 100% supportive of the NHL returning to Seattle and playing in the Arena — and are completely open to the prospect of that occurring prior to the NBA.”

May 26th While speaking with someone from the Associated Press, Chris Hansen says that in spite of all the speculation, there has yet to be a formal proposal for an NHL first plan from a potential NHL franchise owner. This puts a dark cloud on the prospects of a potential NHL Sodo scenario. (as a reminder, Chris Hansen has no interest in being an NHL team owner, but is supportive of working with a potential owner.)

June 10th The City of Glendale (AZ) kills the existing agreement with the Coyotes which leaves some doubt on the future of the Coyotes playing in Arizona.

June 24th The NHL announces that they will begin a formal expansion process. Seattle, Las Vegas and Quebec are early favorites.

June 30th Geoff Baker reports that the Tukwila group plans on submitting an expansion application to NHL.

July 7th Milwaukee Bucks’ president says if their ongoing quest for a new arena does not get approved, then the team will relocate. Most people see this as a leverage play used by the owners against the state to fund a large portion of a new arena.

July 20th In a brutal blow to Seattle’s NHL hopes and in spite of 4 separate NHL expansion application requests from the Seattle area, no group actually submitted their application at the deadline.  Only Las Vegas and Quebec City submit applications to the NHL.

July 26th The City of Glendale and the Arizona Coyotes sign a 2 year agreement that will allow the Coyotes to play in Gila River arena.

August 26th With a sliding currency exchange rate, doubt starts to creep in about Quebec City. This doubt would continue to the end of the year.

September 3rd Sodo Arena clears some final approvals from the Seattle Design Commission. Too little too late? We shall see.

November 3rd Seattle City Council elections go as well as they could for the pro Sodo arena fans as a majority of new city council members are supportive of Sodo Arena initiative.

November 11th Report from the Seattle Times says that a group wants to overhaul KeyArena for NBA and NHL franchise. Days later, details emerge that this group is more of a high interest lender and would gladly loan money to those willing to pay high interest rates.

November 23rd The Seattle Times runs a piece that speculates that the NHL is delaying the expansion process to give Seattle more time to get their house in order.

November 30th Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT recommend Seattle City Council approve the street vacation for Sodo arena. Inching ever closer to final approval.

December 3rd Emails with members of the Mayor’s staff indicate that previous identified potential NHL owner & potential Chris Hansen partner, Victor Coleman, is still pursuing the Sodo arena for an NHL team in spite of missing NHL application deadline.

December 8th The NHL confirms that they continue to be in contact with Seattle groups to bring a team there.

December 15th Outlook on Tukwila arena appears to fade.

John Barr
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