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Investors Look to Put Expansion NHL Franchise in Seattle

July 28th, 2012 at 9:00 AM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101
Although Seattle is one of the rumored possible locations for the Phoenix Coyotes should they have to move, some big-money men might not wait to see if hockey in Phoenix sets before moving to the Emerald City.
Don Levin, owner of the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, said Thursday he thinks Seattle is the best U.S. hockey market without a franchise. He's prepared to put his money where his mouth is, too, saying he'd invest $100 million in an expansion team there.
"I imagine there’d be thousands of Canadians that would come to every game because they can’t get into the building in Vancouver because it’s sold out and it’s such a good team. That would give them an opportunity to come to the city for a weekend to see hockey," he said.

A Seattle team would, indeed, probably see similar benefits as those seen by the Buffalo Sabres at the box office. Seattle is about 144 miles from Vancouver, which would make for an easy drive for Canucks fans to head south of the border – not quite as easy as the 90 miles Toronto Maple Leafs fans have to drive to attend a Sabres home game, but still a manageable distance. And as any Sabres fan could tell you, Canadian fans make their presence felt in waves on this side of the border when hockey is involved – even if their team isn't involved.

The only question would be whether Canucks management doesn't want another team moving into its territory, such as the issue the Sabres had when the Coyotes were trying to be relocated to Hamilton, Ontario, a few years ago. But Seattle is much fther from Vancouver than Hamilton is to Buffalo (about 55 miles), and Canadian teams should not have any issues in terms of drawing fans due to the interest in the game there, which is more a part of the national fabric than it is stateside. And with no Sonics playing NBA ball there anymore, there'd be little competition for the winter sports dollar.

Adding another touch of credibility would be the Great One, as Wayne Gretzky is rumored to also be interested in getting involved with Seattle hockey.

 

Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL, Seattle

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