Vulgar Opinions: The Seattle Arena Deal And NHL Alignment Moving Forward
A short writeup, probably lost to most of you in Puck Daddy’s links, contained news that the Seattle City Council approved Chris Hansen’s (not the Dateline guy) proposed $490 Million NBA-NHL arena deal. The promise of two more professional sports teams and the revenues that will come with, along with Hansen’s promises to repay the $200 Million the City is lending him in bonds and to put $40 Million into mitigating traffic problems in the area along with $7 Million into improving the aging Key Arena made this deal too good for the City Council to pass on.
More importantly is Hansen himself (along with the other contributing Seattlites like Steve Ballmer and Peter and Erik Nordstrom). Hansen is not the money-bilking, corner cutting type of person that is going to half-ass the city of Seattle (looking at you Howard Schultz). That he’s been willing to throw more and more money at this until it was a favorable deal for the city is evidence enough of that. He’s Terry Pegula minus the team. Sure the focus is on Basketball, but you can bet the city isn’t going to want this facility to be a one-trick-pony. If you build it, the NHL will come.
Where does this put the NHL? The league seems hell bent on there being a franchise in Phoenix and if they’re insistent on there being a team in a moderately sized garbage market, they’ll probably be insistent on there being a team in a huge garbage market (New Jersey). Something could still happen in a number of places, but it doesn’t look like there’s a franchise that’s ripe to move the way Atlanta was.
That leads me to believe the NHL is looking to expand. With the desire for four divisionferences, adding two more teams to hit 32 makes sense. One of those, if the Seattle Arena does get built, will be in my new hometown. The other? I think that given the disasters in other cities and the relatively hockey-untested Seattle market, the NHL will be looking for a slam dunk, something that, regardless of how it goes down in Seattle, will allow the NHL to pat themselves on the back and say ‘look, we’re geniuses!’
So…probably Canada. I’ve seen the research that shows that Canada can financially support more franchises than the number of ‘ya knows’ in Ryan Miller interviews so it makes sense that the NHL will add another at some point. (If anything in this stupid league makes sense.) I’ll come clean with you, 99% of my desire to write this article is “YAHOO WE CLEARED ONE MORE HURDLE ON THE PATH TO GETTING A TEAM!” But for the sake of tying it to actual hockey things, here’s what the impending realignment will probably look like. (Disclaimer: unless it doesn’t.)
Northeast / Some Old Hockey Player Division – I don’t know why last season’s proposal threw Florida and Tampa Bay in with the Canadian teams and Buffalo.
- Kingston (because why not)
- Detroit (Put Detroit in with the oldest Canadian franchises to manufacture rivalries…can you say $$$?)
Southeast (kinda) / Some Other Old Hockey Player Division – Alternate name – Pittsburgh, Washington, and the Eastern Conference Leftovers Division.
- New Jersey
- New York
- New York
- Tampa Bay
Western / Bettman Division – Side note, how awesome would a division full of Bettman failures be…like if you threw Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Dallas, and Phoenix all together. I bet the NHL would secretly sponsor a southern hockey tumblr. Actually why hasn’t Donald Fehr done this to rag on Bettman yet?
- Los Angeles
- San Jose
All that Crap in the Middle / Fehr Division – It was seriously difficult to remember all these teams. Hell, I couldn’t remember half the states. I like the idea of marooning an original six team in the middle of nowhere division.
- St. Louis
- Carolina (I know these last two don’t make much sense, but Carolina is the only recent cup winner without a rival / anyone who gives a crap about them. So stick them in the same division as Nashville, provide free beer at all games, and threaten to move the season series loser every year.)