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Ballmer Revealed As Potential Owner of Expansion NHL Team

Ballmer being interested as an NHL owner is a game changer.

On the TEAM 1040 Sekeres and Price radio show yesterday, Geoff Baker revealed the three different investment groups looking to bring an NHL team to Seattle.  The first is Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza, who were the driving force behind trying to relocate the Phoenix Coyotes.  The second is a group led by Don Levin, the owner of the AHL's Chicago Wolves.  Levin has been attached to the NHL to Seattle story since 2011, having had meetings with the league and Chris Hansen.  Levin and Hansen, however, had a falling out over the arena issue, with Levin wanting to build one in Bellevue and Hansen, of course, wanting to build one in Sodo.  The third group is a little more surprising, as it's one led by none other than former Microsoft CEO, and hopeful future Sonics owner, Steve Ballmer.

The one name that you may notice is not on that list is Jeremy Roenick, who has been tied to the movement for months.  We do know, based on a tweet from Q13's Aaron Levine, that Roenick and Bartoszek are no longer working together.  The speculation at Sonics Rising (and that's all it is at this point) is that Roenick is attached to the Ballmer group, based on him meeting with Chris Hansen, and Hansen's known involvement with Ballmer in attempting to bring the Sonics back.

Speaking of bringing back the Sonics (since that's why this site is here), how does this news affect that plight?  Well, one could argue that having Ballmer as the primary investor in the NHL team helps get the arena built.  The big challenge for doing so with an NHL-only (or even first) option has been getting extra money from the hockey investors.  With Ballmer, that issue evaporates for two obvious reasons; for one, he's already an investor in the arena and has a huge incentive to get it built, and for two, he's Scrooge McDuck rich.  On the flip side, you could argue that Ballmer may have moved on from his pursuit of the NBA, given up on that dream, and is now focusing all his attention on hockey.  This, however, flies in the face of reports that Ballmer is on a mission to bring back basketball to the Puget Sound and that with his recent retirement, that will be his main focus.

Which side are you on?  Do you think this is good or bad for us as basketball fans?  Will it help or hurt our chances of getting the Sonics back?  Listen to the interview and vote in the poll below.

Geoff Baker on Sekeres and Price