As a chronic sloth, I hate deadlines. They force me to do work and stuff.
I doubt that the numerous groups trying to bring the NHL to the Seattle region are lazy bums like me, or they wouldn't be where they are in life. I bet they even balance their checkbooks once a month.
Crazy people like that might appreciate a deadline. If that's the case, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is their new best buddy, because he just gave them one.
The good news from Bettman's press conference today is that the NHL is now formally considering expansion, accepting applications from any city that is interested.
The bad news, if you want to call it that, is that those applications have to be in by August 10. As is common knowledge, Seattle has an FEIS in hand for Chris Hansen's SoDo arena proposal, but there is currently no NHL-first funding mechanism in the MOU. Last we heard, Hansen hadn't received any proposals of any kind from any potential NHL investor to make that happen.
In other words, Seattle is not currently ready to apply. They have a little over a month to get ready.
Bettman on Seattle: "Perhaps the process will bring some certainty to the arena situation. Nobody has the arena act together yet in Seattle.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) June 24, 2015
So the pressure is now on Victor Coleman, or any other hockey investment group hoping to use the SoDo arena, to step forward with a written offer to Hansen and the councils. The pressure would then be on Mr. Evening Shadow and the electeds to negotiate with them in good faith.
Unless both of those things happen, Seattle will miss this opportunity to bring professional hockey to town. It could be the last one.
It is unclear how Bettman's statement on Seattle might apply to Ray Bartoszek's effort to bring the league to Tukwila. That proposal is for a privately funded arena, which could be built for either the NHL or the NBA. Bettman is a lawyer who chooses his words carefully. When he says "nobody has the arena act together yet in Seattle," does he mean the Seattle region or just Seattle? If he meant the Seattle region, how does that reflect the league's opinion on the status of the Tukwila proposal? Does Bartoszek need an FEIS in hand? If he specifically meant within the city limits of Seattle, Tukwila could be sitting pretty.
Bartoszek released a statement at the conclusion of today's press conference. I'll let KING5 reporter Chris Daniels give it to you his way.
Ray Bartoszek's group had a rep in Las Vegas today for the #NHL BOG and sent me this statement about today's expansion announcement...— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) June 24, 2015
"Our group continues to make significant progress on the Northwest Arena at Southcenter. We are pleased the (NHL) has decided to take...— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) June 24, 2015
..the next steps in growing its great sport to new markets. Should the opportunity present itself, we would welcome any dialogue w/NHL.."— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) June 24, 2015
Another consideration is this: What the heck is going on in Bellevue? Though it's been reported that there are people who want to build a privately funded NHL/NBA arena there, no one has come forward. If those guys are going to do something, now is the time.
To those trying to bring the NHL to the area, you have my thanks. Now it's time to act. This is the moment you've been waiting for.
This is our chance.