NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has thrown up a big stop sign in front of expansion plans focused on the Emerald City. According to a Seattle Times report Bettman, speaking at league headquarters in New York to sports editors and reporters, said the Sodo arena proposal put forth by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer needs to get much further along before the league considers any expansion.
“Until there is some better certainty about a building and its availability to an NHL team,” Bettman said, “there’s really not a whole lot of point in even going further in the thought process.”
The focus for Hansen and Ballmer has been the NBA, but they have not been able to secure an franchise for their proposed arena. Despite interest from the NHL in the Seattle market, the two investors do not want to be majority owners of an NHL team.
Another stumbling block, the report states a hockey-first venue would also require a reworking of a Memorandum of Understanding Hansen has with the city and county.
(KPUG Newsroom – Doug Lange)