By Brad Constant, Dec. 3, 2013.
There has been talk of the National Hockey League expanding and adding a new franchise in Seattle. Investor Chris Hanson has been trying to build a new arena that could host both National Basketball Association and NHL teams. But the latest push comes from former NHLer Jeremy Roenick, who wants to get on board if the League forms a new team in Seattle (check out the CBS Sports report here).
Seattle makes sense, and here’s why.
First, Seattle itself has an estimated population of over 610,000 as of the 2010 census. Throw in the more than three million people that make up the surrounding Seattle area and you find a nice market in which a franchise could survive. (Check out Seattle.gov for the facts.)
Second, and most importantly, the fans in the Seattle area are passionate. The Seattle Seahawks have averaged over 68,000 fans during the 2013 season according to ESPN. That only ranks them 19th in the National Football League, but the Seahawks faithful sure do make a lot of noise, so much noise that they’ve been dubbed the 12th man. Want proof? Watch this video.
How about the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer? The team set the record by averaging over 44,000 fans this past season. That’s pretty impressive considering soccer isn’t the biggest of sports here in the U.S. And like the Seahawks 12th man, the Sounders fans can get pretty loud too, and yes, we have a video as proof.
The truth is a Sounders game may be the closest one can come to experiencing an atmosphere at a soccer game like those found in Europe. Check out this video of the Tottenham Hotspurs’ fans celebrating after their team scored a goal and you’ll know what we mean.
So imagine all of the Seattle fans singing and cheering their hearts out, in an arena. We’re talking about a large open area that funnels sound down to the ice surface and has a big roof to keep all that noise in. That would be one loud building.
But more importantly, if an NHL team is formed in Seattle that can compete from the get go then the Seattle fans will flood to every game, which a proven formula to make money. So the financial stability is there to support a team if the team is built properly.
However, the thing that has us, the hockey fans, the most excited is the potential rivalry that would form with the Vancouver Canucks. The two cities are only a few hours apart. Think about it, an American team versus a Canadian team only three hours apart, divided by a border, and both with passionate fan bases. This is something that dreams are made of!
So why, Gary Bettman, is there not a team in Seattle yet? Get behind Hanson and his push for an arena. Once it is built – and it will most likely be a state-of-the-art facility – then all parties involved can enjoy the fruits of a Seattle-based NHL team. But most importantly, the fans in Seattle will finally have the NHL team they deserve.
Check out this site covering everything you’d want to know about the potential NHL team in Seattle.
- NHL hopes still alive for Seattle (mynorthwest.com)
- Chris Hansen on NBA team: ‘We’re waiting for the right opportunity’ (krem.com)