Speaking of getting an NHL team by waving a $500 million check around, our old friend Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times suggests that Chris Hansen might want to do just that if he ever wants to get a Seattle arena built:
For now, with the NBA not expanding and the NHL needing another Western team to balance conferences, it might be worth giving that “NHL first” option another look.
Las Vegas built its arena with private funds, resulting in limited political delays. Of course, an all-private venture for a $500 million arena in Sodo would be tougher without public-bond money.
Yeah, it sure would be tougher: The finances of an NBA arena in Seattle looked difficult enough under Hansen’s original plan, and it would only be tougher with a hockey team (which is projected to bring in less money) plus paying off $200 million that was supposed to be covered by city bonds — though about half those bonds were going to be paid off by Hansen’s rent payments anyway, so presumably he could just replace those with plain old bank loans. Yes, an NHL franchise would probably be cheaper than an NBA one at this point, but you’d also end up with a less valuable asset for your money, so really the concern here is whether Hansen could turn an operating profit on an NHL arena after paying off construction costs — I’m guessing no, but if he wants to give it a shot, more power to him.
Of course, that’s the other thing: Hansen, like Fannee Doolee, loves basketball but doesn’t think much of hockey, so he might not be willing to risk his money just to become an NHL owner. Baker’s theory is that at least it’ll let him build an arena, maybe, so that down the road he can get an NBA team, maybe, which … sure, maybe. I don’t really expect to see Hansen jumping at this option, but stranger things have happened.