Chris Hansen’s public reputation may be in the toilet after his Sacramento secret-referendum-funding controversy, but approvals for his Seattle arena plan are proceeding apace, with two more review meetings planned this week. And now Chris Daniels of KING-5 TV is reporting that the NHL could be interested in placing an expansion team in Seattle:
Sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, believe the NHL is now watching the status of the project, and gauging corporate and fan interest in a potential expansion franchise. Hansen has been seeking a partner who could be a tenant in a new building. Sources say NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been quietly pushing owners to award a franchise to Seattle, perhaps as early as next year. The NHL has denied that any talks have taken place, and sources suggest nothing has been finalized.
That would be more than a little weird, since 1) Hansen’s deal to build an arena doesn’t kick in unless he gets an NBA team, which doesn’t appear close to happening anytime soon, 2) an NHL team would have to play in Key Arena until a new arena is built, 3) Key, though renovated in the ’90s, has already been deemed unacceptable by the NBA, and 4) is one of those buildings where hockey would have to be shoehorned in, with only 9,000 unobstructed-view seats in hockey configuration. That’s a potentially long time to be stuck in a tiny-capacity arena, even if it did get upgrades to host an NHL team.
Or if you’d rather not worry your little minds over this, just go look at a slideshow of new renderings of what Hansen’s arena might look like, if and when it ever gets built. Giant projections of Gary Payton! Happy computer-rendered people carrying pennants! Because that’s totally what people do at basketball games!