Report: Jeremy Roenick wants in on Seattle expansion
It’s no secret to avid followers of the NHL that the league would like to expand the league, and Seattle is their desired destination in the United States. Investor Chris Hansen is set on building an arena in Seattle, but would like to have an NBA team to start with before considering adding an NHL team. However, an American hockey legend could be exploring the situation with the intent of hopping in the fray.
Jeremy Roenick, a 20-year NHL veteran who played 1,363 games for five teams, was in Seattle today per a report from King 5 News’ Chris Daniels. Currently biding his time as an NBC studio analyst, Roenick could become part of a secondary ownership group that could help offset some of the financial burden shouldered by Hansen to make NHL hockey in Seattle possible. From Daniels’ report:
The prospects for the NHL are better than the NBA at this point.
However, a source who was in the meeting, says NHL legend Jeremy Roenick was in Seattle on Monday, along with an investment team, to discuss an expansion franchise and working with Hansen. It is believed Roenick wants to be the “front man” for the NHL franchise. He made an attempt to be part of a group to bring the Phoenix Coyotes to Seattle earlier this year.
Hansen had hoped to acquire the Sacramento Kings and relocate them to Seattle to start the city’s sports revival, but the Maloof family was able to retain the Kings. That doesn’t mean that an NHL team could not be the first tenant of a Seattle arena. More from Daniels:
The NHL would need to award an expansion franchise to a well heeled group, likely based on another conditional agreement to be a partner with Hansen in a new building. It’s unclear how quickly that could all come together, or what it would mean for construction on the project.
“It would only need to be recrafted if the basketball team was not here, by the time we started construction on a new arena. If the hockey team wanted to come here, and play in Key Arena for a couple of years, and wait until we had a basketball team coming, then no it wouldn’t need to be recrafted, but to activate the public financing piece, yes,” said Hansen.
Hansen has previously admitted to meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
With the most recent realignment occurring during the 2012 lockout, the NHL was left with 16 Eastern Conference teams and 14 Western Conference teams. That bodes well for the possibility of expansion into Seattle. Quebec City is also heavily rumored to be readying for expansion, but they would not fit into the Western Conference, and the western-most team in the Eastern Conference as of now is the Detroit Red Wings – who no doubt have been lobbying the league for years to be moved to the Eastern Conference.
Surely the NHL will find a way to expand to 32 teams sooner rather than later. It just seems to be an issue of finding the right people to make the particulars work.
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Around the Rink Columnist Joe Ray – @jpray_SK
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[H/T Eye On Hockey]