A lot of us, admittedly, myself included, screamed from the mountain tops, "where is Victor Coleman? Why has he not issued a NHL-first amendment to the MOU?" when Mayor Ed Murray told us that there was no such proposition being presented. We have clamored for an NHL ownership group to come forward and match Chris Hansen's contributions to the project so things could get rolling.
Recently, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the NBA would not be examining the idea of expanding for at least four or five more years. Since the league last expanded, the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004, there has been instituted a new policy where expansion must be presented as an option and an open bidding process must occur. Cities present their case; their media market, their ownership group, their fan base, and, of course, their arena. The league then decides which teams are the most worthy, and award a franchise. If the NBA were to open this process at the time, they would most likely receive bids from Louisville, Las Vegas, Virginia Beach, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Vancouver BC, Omaha, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. If Seattle were to bid, it would most certainly lose out to one of those cities, since Seattle does not have an arena, nor a completed plan for one. If the NBA were to award an expansion team without going through the process, they would open themselves up to lawsuits from one, or several, of those cities.
Silver also said there were no teams currently up for relocation. He said he wished he had a team for Seattle, but there just aren't any available. He also wondered why there was no arena in Seattle yet. This increased the volume of cries for an NHL-first alternative.
According to their commissioner, Gary Bettman, the NHL is also not seriously considering expanding at this time. However, unlike the NBA, the NHL can expand simply by saying yes and deciding on a location. They seem to already be doing their due diligence in Las Vegas to determine if that is one of the locations they decide on, when they do ultimately decide to expand. Most believe that Seattle is already locked in, that the NHL has decided they want to be here and are just waiting on us to build an arena. The common thread between both leagues is that they are waiting on us, waiting on an arena.
So if the NHL is ready to put a team here as soon as there's a building, why is there no NHL-first proposition? Well, quite simply, because it's not that time. Not yet. Think of it this way: your mom says you can have a candy bar once you finish your homework. You can sit there and try and decide between a Snickers and a Butterfinger, but ultimately, if you don't finish your homework, you get no candy bar. No Snickers, no Butterfinger, no Hundred Grand, no Whatchamacallit. While we're on the chocolate kick, let's quote Willy Wonka. "YOU GET NOTHING! GOOD DAY, SIR!"
Victor Coleman and Chris Hansen seem to be focusing on doing their homework, which is making sure the FEIS gets completed. Unfortunately, there is little they can do at this point other than watch and wait, just like the rest of us. The FEIS could come back with mitigation costs that could alter the amount that an NHL group would need to pay. There is no point in changing the MOU at this point, when there are too many unknowns in the FEIS.
So, while we all want answers, the truth is we have to do our homework first. And right now, that means simply waiting for the results of the EIS. Once that's done, then we can see if we can have a Snickers before we move on to getting a Butterfinger instead.