By Shane Darrow on August 18, 2014
There have been rumors for years that the NHL is looking to expand to Seattle, but starting an NHL franchise in a new city is far from an easy task. Here are five reasons why Seattle won't be getting an NHL team for quite some time, if ever.
Ever since the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008, the city has been desperately trying to reacquire an NBA franchise. Steve Ballmer purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers was a big blow to those chances, but lead investor Chris Hansen has said that his push will continue. With the NBA being a bigger draw nationwide than the NHL, Seattle will have professional basketball before an NHL team.
There have been multiple reports that an agreement to build a new stadium that could house an NHL team has been reached; however, until an actual deed is drawn up and workers begin on the project, Seattle's biggest red flag on getting an NHL team remains that they'll have no place to play.
In order for an NHL team to flourish in Seattle, there would need to be a steady and loyal fan base. Sure, there would be heightened attendance for the first few years as residents in the area celebrated having a new professional franchise in their city, but it's questionable whether a high attendance could be maintained. The Seattle Seahawks are known for an insane fan base, but the Mariners are 23rd in the MLB in average attendance.
In 2013, Seattle was incredible close to purchasing the Phoenix Coyotes. Renamed the Arizona Coyotes in 2014, the Glendale City Counsel narrowly voted 4-3 to keep the team in Glendale, AZ. With the Coyotes deciding to stay put, there are no other legitimate options for a current NHL franchise to relocate, which will keep Seattle without a team.
With there being no possibility of a team relocating to Seattle, the best bet would be starting a franchise from scratch; however, in order for this to happen there would need to be another city willing to start a team as well. The last NHL expansion was in 2000 when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild joined the league, and while there have been rumors of a possible NHL franchise in Las Vegas, it will likely never come to fruition.
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