Why an NHL team in Seattle makes sense

Here is the logo of the Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior hockey team in the Western Hockey League.

Here is the logo of the Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior hockey team in the Western Hockey League.

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.

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Former players file concussion lawsuit against NHL

Big hits are have always been a part of hockey. Will the new lawsuit against the NHL eliminate big hits from the game? (Photo courtesy of the russianmachineneverbreaks.com)

Big hits are have always been a part of hockey. Will the new lawsuit against the NHL eliminate big hits from the game? (Photo courtesy of the russianmachineneverbreaks.com)

By Mike Larson, Nov. 26, 2013

We all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, and on Monday, a group of former National Hockey League players dropped the bomb.

Ten former players have filed a class action lawsuit, basically saying that the NHL didn’t do enough to protect them during their careers.

This wasn’t unexpected. After the National Football League agreed to pay $765 million to 4,500 former players who sued the league on the grounds that it didn’t protect them, everyone knew it was just a matter of time before hockey players got involved.

As of now, 10 players are involved, but it’s likely hundreds, if not thousands more will join it. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the players involved are Gary Leeman, Brad Aiken, Darren Banks, Curt Bennett, Richard Dunn, Warren Holmes, Bob Manno, Blair Stewart, Morris Titanic, and Rick Vaive.

So…it’s not exactly a star-studded list. At first glance, the only player who we even recognized was Darren Banks, and that’s only because he played a season for the Detroit Vipers of the now defunct International Hockey League. And we’re not even sure why Banks is suing. He only played 20 career NHL games, but whatever.

The suit, which is being handled jointly by a law firm in Laguna Hills, Calif., and another firm in Baltimore, alleges that the NHL should have done more to protect players from head injuries.

Here’s an excerpt of a release from the lawyers:

“The class action lawsuit, which is being leveled against the National Hockey League on behalf of former players, alleges that the NHL has failed to effectively respond to the head injuries sustained by players. The lawsuit contends that the NHL had behaved negligently and fraudulently in regards to the player sustained head trauma over the past decade.”

So here it is. The concussion discussion has officially made it into the hockey world. Sure, people talked about it before in terms of players like Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya, but it always seemed the conversations were about player toughness, not about safety.

But danger is the rule and injuries are an accepted rule in any contact sport, right? Is it fair for players, (at least one of the players involved in this lawsuit played without a helmet even though the league mandated that all incoming players had to protect their domes) to act like they didn’t know the sport was dangerous? Is it fair to blame the league?

I guess those are questions for the lawyers.

However, if what happened in the NFL case is any indication, this thing could get really expensive for the NHL.