At its core, Sonics Rising is a community that is here to do everything it can to return the Seattle SuperSonics to their home town and to support them like crazy once they get here. We are about NBA basketball. Always have been. Always will be.
It seems that our recent focus on the potential relocation of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes to Seattle has caused some people to question that, which is understandable. Why would a community that is supposedly so dedicated to basketball turn most of its attention to hockey over the course of two weeks?
Why are we focusing on this? Why does the NHL matter so much to an NBA Web site? Have we effectively given up on the return of the NBA?
Let me try to lend some perspective here.
Don't ever forget what Chris Hansen is trying to accomplish. He is trying to build an arena to house the Sonics. For that arena to pencil out financially, however, there needs to be a second anchor tenant. From the moment Hansen surfaced over a year ago, he targeted an NHL franchise as that second tenant.
Like most of you, I've always assumed that the NBA team would arrive first and all of us, including NHL fans in Seattle, were hoping that it would happen this year so we could get that shovel in the ground and have something to cheer for this winter. Unfortunately, we didn't get our wish.
The idea of getting an NHL team first is a complex one. I don't know what the immediate impact on the SoDo arena would be. I don't know if the NHL would come without a guarantee. I don't know what conversations the prospective owners have had with Hansen. I don't know what this would mean for the current MOU.
I just don't know and I believe I'm in good company on that.
What I do know is that, if we get a chance to latch on to one of the major tenants in this equation, we MUST do so. It's much easier to keep a team than it is to get one.
Raise your hand if you weren't heart broken and somewhat depressed when you found out that, after all the excitement of the previous several months, the Kings weren't going to move to Seattle and morph into the green and gold good guys.
I don't see any hands.
The fact of the matter is, the idea of getting an NHL team in Seattle is exciting, whether you grew up a hockey fan or not. It is undeniable that the morale in our community has brightened considerably in the last couple of weeks because of this possibility. One night this week I gave some thought to having our beloved Speedcat placed in a straight jacket due to his uncontrollable giddiness.
This is a major reason we are covering this story so hard. With all other things being equal, it's more enjoyable to visit a community that is excited about something than it is to visit one that is in a default state of melancholy.
THE STORY RIGHT NOW
While we are primarily a community dedicated to the Seattle SuperSonics, the fact of the matter is they are not really in the news at the moment. We are hopeful for expansion once Little Napoleon retires and there have been rumors that negotiations have been taking place behind the scenes, but we aren't likely to hear much about it until the NBA's new television contract is negotiated and signed.
Like it or not, the Coyotes story is at the forefront right now and it has a major impact on the Sonics future.
Whether the Coyotes leave Glendale or not and whether Seattle is truly Plan B or not, the truth is that most of the Sonics Rising community is paying more attention to the NHL right now. If you don't believe me, check the number of comments on every NHL story we've written in the past couple of weeks. The numbers are through the roof.
This is why we cover it so hard.