NHL in Seattle: Should They Get an Expansion or Relocated NHL Team?

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2012

Seattle could become a viable city for an NHL team.
Seattle could become a viable city for an NHL team.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Seattle is going to become a viable option for the NHL.

Earlier this month, the King County (Wash.) Council and the Seattle City Council approved a plan that allows developers to build a new arena in the city.

That will allow developer Chris Hansen the opportunity to build a $490 million arena in the downtown Seattle area, according to the Seattle Times.

Hansen will have $200 million in public funds to help with the cost of the project.

Seattle lost its NBA team in 2008 when the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City where the franchise became the Thunder (via Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West).

The area would like to have franchises in both the NBA and the NHL to fill out the sporting menu for the Emerald City.

Seattle has been the home to the NFL's Seahawks and Major League Baseball's Mariners. The Seahawks were an expansion team in the NFL beginning with the 1976 season, and the Mariners began play in the American League in 1977.

Seattle had a hockey team called the Metropolitans that won the Stanley Cup in 1917 (source: seattlehockey.com).

Seattle is the second-largest U.S. city that does not have an NHL franchise, not including Atlanta, which has already lost two NHL teams. Houston is the largest U.S. city without an NHL team. Seattle-Tacoma is considered the 12th largest U.S. market.

It makes sense to have an NHL franchise in a market as large as Seattle.

It might make perfect sense for a struggling franchise to shift gears and move to Seattle for its long-term destination. Seattle's proximity to Vancouver would help establish a great rivalry with one of the league's most important franchises.

Edmonton owner Daryl Katz is trying to get a new arena for the Oilers, and he has recently run into opposition from local politicians. He recently took a trip to Seattle (source: CBC.ca) and later apologized to Edmonton residents for the implied threat of moving his team out of the area (source: TSN.ca).

While Katz has every right to do what he wants with his team, moving a beloved hockey team out of its home is a much different scenario than moving a team that has had a difficult time putting down roots and establishing itself.

Moving the Oilers to Seattle would rip the soul out of that city, while moving the Coyotes out of Phoenix may be inevitable.

An expansion franchise may also be a viable possibility for Seattle.

While the NHL is currently involved in a brutal lockout, there have been reports from The Hockey News editor-in-chief Jason Kay that the NHL may expand once the lockout situation is resolved.


There's strong speculation the NHL could announce two expansion teams for Canada once CBA deal struck: Quebec & Toronto. More in Oct. 29 THN

Jason Kay (@JKTHN)



While Kay's tweet was about Canadian expansion teams, putting a team in the second-largest U.S. city that does not have an NHL franchise would be logical.

The NHL needs to look seriously at Seattle now that a new arena will be viable.