NHL in Seattle? 4 Reasons This Should Happen Soon
The city of Seattle and the nearby area of Bellevue are two great places for the NHL to consider bringing a team through expansion or relocation.
The Seattle area is a great place for sports fans, and the city has repeatedly shown that they are willing to support their professional sports teams. The Seattle Metropolitans, who played in the city from 1915 to 1924, were the first American team to ever win the Stanley Cup.
Let's look at four reasons why Seattle should have an NHL soon.
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The city of Seattle has very passionate sports fans who love their teams.
Despite going just 7-9 last season and missing the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL had a 99.1 percent attendance percentage at Qwest Field.
When Key Arena was housing the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) of the NBA, the building was one of the loudest in the league.
Ever since the Sonics were taken from them, Seattle sports fans have been very outspoken in their desire to have another NBA franchise in their city.
If a new arena were built for an NBA or NHL franchise, Seattle would have more than enough fans to support the teams. According to the 2010 Census, the city has a population of 608,660.
Proximity to Vancouver Helps
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Hockey fans in the Vancouver area have one place to go if they want to see some NHL action: Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks.
Having a team in Seattle would give many people in Vancouver and other parts of Western Canada another nearby location to see their favorite star players.
Just like Toronto hockey fans who don't want to pay for high-priced Leafs tickets go to Buffalo Sabres games, Vancouver fans who can't get tickets to Canucks games could easily do down to Seattle to watch the NHL.
A potential rivalry between the Canucks and a Seattle team would also be good for the league.
The NHL Has Teams That Need to Be Moved
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The Phoenix Coyotes are the NHL team that would benefit from relocation the most.
The Coyotes continue to have a difficult time getting fans to consistently attend games. They finished last in home attendance percentage for the 2011-12 season, averaging just 12,420 fans per game.
If relocation becomes the solution in Glendale, then Seattle is a great fit for the Coyotes. Quebec City is the popular relocation choice for the team, but Seattle is another a good destination.
With a brand-new arena in place, there's no reason why the Coyotes—or any other NHL team that could face relocation—shouldn't consider Seattle as a possible home.
Other NHL teams that could possibly benefit from relocating to a place like Seattle are the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers.
Seattle Fans Support Their Teams
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Fans of the Seattle Sounders, the city's Major League Soccer franchise, are some of the most intense fans in all of sports.
According to the News Tribune in Tacoma, WA, the Sounders are doing very well regarding attendance:
Seattle set an MLS record for attendance with an average of 30,897 during their inaugural season in 2009, only to surpass that mark in 2010 with an average of 36,173 and again in 2011 with an average of 38,498. This season, Sounders FC has continued to set the standard by averaging 41,480.
The News Tribune shared even more impressive attendance numbers from the Sounders this season:
Seattle’s 2012 attendance average would also currently rank fifth in MLB and first in the NBA and NHL. Last season, Sounders FC drew 654,431 fans for MLS matches and is on pace for more than 700,000 fans this season.
Sounders FC television ratings have raised the bar for MLS, ranking first in the league, and would rank in the top third in the NHL and top half in the NBA, according to CAA.
If the city supports an American soccer team in a league that is far less popular than the NFL, MLB and NBA, then there's no reason to think these same fans wouldn't support an NHL team in great numbers too.
Since the MLS season runs from March through October, fans would only have to choose between the Sounders and an NHL game from March through early June.