Photo of SoDo in Seattle, Washington. 

Image Credit: Ian Sane (CC BY 2.0)

It's been 88 long years since Seattle was home to an NHL team; the old Seattle Metropolitans. The Metropolitans were the 1917 Stanley Cup Champions. It's also been 4 short years since Seattle was home to an NBA team; the old Seattle Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City. A group of investors in Seattle are trying to come together to fund a new venue that would bring two professional franchises back to the city.

However, the financiers which includes hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, will only guarantee funding if both the NHL and NBA can guarantee two franchises. I feel the same way about Seattle as I do with Los Angeles trying to lure an NFL franchise back to it's city; you had your chance. As a matter of fact, Los Angeles had both the Rams and Raiders in the city and they couldn't keep either of them. I am also left wondering just what is wrong with the old KeyArena in Seattle? (now known as the Seattle Center). The entire venue has been financed through it's public profits and has a capacity of 17,000 for basketball and 15,000 for hockey. Does the city of Seattle really think it would average more than that on a nightly basis for these events?

If the NBA would rather see the New Orleans Pelicans in Seattle, that's fine. But in terms of hockey, the NHL needs to get smart and begin expanding north of the border where the game is more cherished and appreciated. Trying to expand the game into southern U.S. markets like Raleigh, Atlanta, Florida and Phoenix has been an epic failure. The city of Seattle is keeping strong watch on the Arizona Coyotes who has struggled with attendance and ownership since moving from Winnipeg, Manitoba. To prove a point, let's take a look at the overall NHL attendance for the 2010-2011 season.


1. United Center - (878,356)

2. Bell Centre - (872,193)

3. Wells Fargo Center - (808,328)

4. Joe Louis Arena - (806,892)

5. Air Canada Centre - (793,522)

6. Scotiabank Saddledome - (771,560)

7. Scottrade Center - (785,150)

8. Rogers Arena - (773,260)

9. First Niagara Center- (756,568)

10. Verizon Center - (754,309)

11. Scotiabank Place - (753,525)

12. Consol Energy Center - (729,628)

13. Madison Square Garden - (742,432)

14. Staples Center - (741,404)

15. Xcel Energy Center - (720,508)

16. TD Garden - (702,600)

17. HP Pavilion - (702,480)

18. Amalie Arena - (708,022)

19. Rexall Place - (690,399)

20. PNC Arena - (656,611)

21. Bridgestone Arena - (661,861)

22. BankAtlantic Center - (643,116)

23. American Airlines Center - (617,997)

24. Pepsi Center - (607,650)

25. Prudential Center - (605,803)

26. Honda Center - (604,283)

27. Nationwide Arena - (546,350)

28. Philips Arena (home of the former Atlanta Thrashers) - (552,230)

29. Arena - (487,543)

30. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - (453,456)


As you can see, all but one of Canada's six franchises finished in the top eleven in overall NHL attendance last season. The Winnipeg Jets have sold out essentially every home game for the 2011-2012 season, so you can count on them being in the top ten for next year. Quebec City, Hamilton, Saskatoon and London are all capable of sustaining expansion teams. And according to NBC Sports, the city of Quebec is pushing hard to bring a hockey team back home for the second coming of the Nordiques. Unfortunately, funding for a new arena is the only thing keeping Quebec City from getting a team. Whether it be the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets or Arizona Coyotes that will relocate; there are other cities chomping at the bit for a professional hockey team.


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