BY Todd Dybas 02:44PM 05/31/2011

Two-point conversation: NHL in Seattle?

With all the fervor about the Vancouver Canucks playing in the Stanley Cup Final starting Wednesday, Art Thiel and Todd Dybas discuss whether the NHL would work if a new arena was built to accommodate it and the NBA in the city.


YourThoughts

  • Anonymous

    The NHL will do quite well in Seattle, there are more hockey people around than you think.  That “vocal minority” you mentioned was just that, a minority of the hockey fans.  It should be NHL instead of NBA. 

  • somethingbasic

    The NHL will do quite well in Seattle, there are more hockey people around than you think.  That “vocal minority” you mentioned was just that, a minority of the hockey fans.  It should be NHL instead of NBA. 

  • Ed Lynnwood

    Could it pleeeeeease be part of a comprehensive upgrade of the Seattle Centre. That way it wouldn’t be just dollars for athletes and owners, it wouild be part of a wownderful legacey (in conjuntion with the waterfront upgrade) to be enjoyed by all.

  • Ed Lynnwood

    Could it pleeeeeease be part of a comprehensive upgrade of the Seattle Centre. That way it wouldn’t be just dollars for athletes and owners, it wouild be part of a wownderful legacey (in conjuntion with the waterfront upgrade) to be enjoyed by all.

  • http://www.examiner.com/roller-derby-in-seattle/tom-george Tom George

    I think the NHL would work very well here in the Seattle area. Take the Sounders and their MLS success for instance. Back when the Sounders were part of the A-League (or whatever it’s called) they drew flies compared to what the Sounders draw now in the MLS. I remember one night while the old Sounders were playing in Qwest Field, the Rat City Rollergirls had an event in the WaMu Theater that had MORE people in there than watching the soccer game. I didn’t even know there were that many soccer fans around here until the MLS showed up. Now the Sounders are the best draw in the MLS.

    And I think the support for hockey is even greater than soccer around here. An extremely terrible Thunderbirds franchise still averages around 4000 fans a night at the ShoWare Center in Kent. And the Silvertips up in Everett average around 6000 fans per night. That’s 10,000 people watching junior hockey around here on any given night (if you’re talking about Saturday nights when Seattle can sell 6000 seats and the Silvertips can sell their barn out at 8500, that’s 14,500 people watching junior hockey). I don’t think the old A-League Sounders ever averaged 4000 people per game. They were probably lucky to have one night a year when they drew 4000 people.

    So I think an NHL franchise would be wildly popular here in the Seattle area. Especially if some of these lame duck franchises (like Phoenix, Miami, NY Islanders) decide to move to both Seattle and Portland (which also has a rabid fan base for their junior team and even more people craving an NHL squad). The old time sports writers around here probably don’t want to hear it, but a Seattle/Portland hockey rivalry (a rivalry that goes back well over 100 years now) would be far more popular with the sports fans around here than an NBA rivalry with Portland ever was or ever will be. Not to mention the rivalries set to build up between Vancouver, San Jose, Colorado, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

    The NHL and the Seattle area is a winning combination, for sure!

    • Michael Kaiser

      I totally agree.  Very well presented.

  • http://www.examiner.com/roller-derby-in-seattle/tom-george Tom George

    I think the NHL would work very well here in the Seattle area. Take the Sounders and their MLS success for instance. Back when the Sounders were part of the A-League (or whatever it’s called) they drew flies compared to what the Sounders draw now in the MLS. I remember one night while the old Sounders were playing in Qwest Field, the Rat City Rollergirls had an event in the WaMu Theater that had MORE people in there than watching the soccer game. I didn’t even know there were that many soccer fans around here until the MLS showed up. Now the Sounders are the best draw in the MLS.

    And I think the support for hockey is even greater than soccer around here. An extremely terrible Thunderbirds franchise still averages around 4000 fans a night at the ShoWare Center in Kent. And the Silvertips up in Everett average around 6000 fans per night. That’s 10,000 people watching junior hockey around here on any given night (if you’re talking about Saturday nights when Seattle can sell 6000 seats and the Silvertips can sell their barn out at 8500, that’s 14,500 people watching junior hockey). I don’t think the old A-League Sounders ever averaged 4000 people per game. They were probably lucky to have one night a year when they drew 4000 people.

    So I think an NHL franchise would be wildly popular here in the Seattle area. Especially if some of these lame duck franchises (like Phoenix, Miami, NY Islanders) decide to move to both Seattle and Portland (which also has a rabid fan base for their junior team and even more people craving an NHL squad). The old time sports writers around here probably don’t want to hear it, but a Seattle/Portland hockey rivalry (a rivalry that goes back well over 100 years now) would be far more popular with the sports fans around here than an NBA rivalry with Portland ever was or ever will be. Not to mention the rivalries set to build up between Vancouver, San Jose, Colorado, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

    The NHL and the Seattle area is a winning combination, for sure!

    • Michael Kaiser

      I totally agree.  Very well presented.

  • http://www.examiner.com/roller-derby-in-seattle/tom-george Tom George

    I came back and watched this video again and found a couple talking points in it that I would like to toss more pennies into the jar than the two cents I previously contributed.

    First of all the question that was posed if they should build a new arena with hockey in mind. Whether Seattle lands an NHL franchise or not, the simple answer is “yes.” The reason? Well, it’s sitting there on the western side of the Seattle Center right now pretty much empty outside of those few dates a year when the Storm, University of Seattle and Rat City Rollergirls play in there.

    The KeyArena was rebuilt as a basketball only type of arena. While the way it is set up is pretty good for us common fans, when it comes to the financial aspects of the equation it comes up a bitter failure. See, the difference between the Key and other arenas supposedly like it (such as the Rose Garden in Portland, Staples Center in Los Angeles, etc) is that a basketball court is 94 feet long while a hockey rink is 200 feet long. Which means, in theory, an entire building has to be built 100 feet longer to properly hold a hockey rink than it has to when it’s designed to hold only a basketball court.

    What does this mean?

    Well, it means (if you count both sides of either a court or rink) an extra 200+ feet worth of seating. Imagine how many more seats you could sell to an NBA game if there was a total of 200 feet wide along with the…what…60-80 extra rows of seats to sell there. That’s a lot of seats. And a lot of potential extra income. And not only that, but imagine another 200 feet worth of space between the lower and upper decks that is commonly used as luxury suites. If those suites are 20 feet wide, that’s an extra 10 of those you can put in that building. I don’t know what they go for, but if they’re $100,000 for an entire year, that right there is an extra $1 million in income for the buildings tenants.

    That was the biggest folly of them all with the renovation of the KeyArena; I don’t think the Sonics ever took into consideration all the money they would eventually lose thanks to all those extra seats and luxury boxes that weren’t going to be built there. That meant less income and eventually contributed to their bag of reasons as to why they booked for OKC. 

    Which brings me around to the second point I would like to debate here. Mr. Thiel said that back in the early 90′s when Ackerley still owned the land which Safeco Field now sits on, he couldn’t find anyone interested in buying into an NHL franchise. Ah, Mr. Thiel…you couldn’t be further from the truth. Just a couple weeks ago in an article posted right here on this page about the legend of Guyle Fielder, it was reported that there WERE people interested in bringing an NHL franchise to Seattle. But when it came right down to it, the Ackerley’s torpedoed those efforts and sunk the bidders without their consent (a story I also remember reading about in the News Tribune several years ago. I believe that News Tribune column was written by Don Ruiz back then, but I could be mistaken).

    In case you didn’t read it and maybe want to have a little talk with the fellow who wrote it, here is the link to that Guyle Fielder article: http://sportspressnw.com/2011/05/wayback-machine-guyle-fielder-the-seattle-totems/

    Anyway, there is plenty of support around here for an NHL franchise. It’s just difficult to prove it when owners of current teams in other sports around here toss molotov cocktails into NHL board member meetings to end bids without the other investors permission and arenas are built around here with part of the design plan to make it so an NHL team couldn’t possibly play in there.

    The bottom line is that the NHL would work here. It’s just a matter of getting around the people who don’t want it to work. And that, sadly, is the biggest hurdle of them all to get over.

  • http://www.examiner.com/roller-derby-in-seattle/tom-george Tom George

    I came back and watched this video again and found a couple talking points in it that I would like to toss more pennies into the jar than the two cents I previously contributed.

    First of all the question that was posed if they should build a new arena with hockey in mind. Whether Seattle lands an NHL franchise or not, the simple answer is “yes.” The reason? Well, it’s sitting there on the western side of the Seattle Center right now pretty much empty outside of those few dates a year when the Storm, University of Seattle and Rat City Rollergirls play in there.

    The KeyArena was rebuilt as a basketball only type of arena. While the way it is set up is pretty good for us common fans, when it comes to the financial aspects of the equation it comes up a bitter failure. See, the difference between the Key and other arenas supposedly like it (such as the Rose Garden in Portland, Staples Center in Los Angeles, etc) is that a basketball court is 94 feet long while a hockey rink is 200 feet long. Which means, in theory, an entire building has to be built 100 feet longer to properly hold a hockey rink than it has to when it’s designed to hold only a basketball court.

    What does this mean?

    Well, it means (if you count both sides of either a court or rink) an extra 200+ feet worth of seating. Imagine how many more seats you could sell to an NBA game if there was a total of 200 feet wide along with the…what…60-80 extra rows of seats to sell there. That’s a lot of seats. And a lot of potential extra income. And not only that, but imagine another 200 feet worth of space between the lower and upper decks that is commonly used as luxury suites. If those suites are 20 feet wide, that’s an extra 10 of those you can put in that building. I don’t know what they go for, but if they’re $100,000 for an entire year, that right there is an extra $1 million in income for the buildings tenants.

    That was the biggest folly of them all with the renovation of the KeyArena; I don’t think the Sonics ever took into consideration all the money they would eventually lose thanks to all those extra seats and luxury boxes that weren’t going to be built there. That meant less income and eventually contributed to their bag of reasons as to why they booked for OKC. 

    Which brings me around to the second point I would like to debate here. Mr. Thiel said that back in the early 90′s when Ackerley still owned the land which Safeco Field now sits on, he couldn’t find anyone interested in buying into an NHL franchise. Ah, Mr. Thiel…you couldn’t be further from the truth. Just a couple weeks ago in an article posted right here on this page about the legend of Guyle Fielder, it was reported that there WERE people interested in bringing an NHL franchise to Seattle. But when it came right down to it, the Ackerley’s torpedoed those efforts and sunk the bidders without their consent (a story I also remember reading about in the News Tribune several years ago. I believe that News Tribune column was written by Don Ruiz back then, but I could be mistaken).

    In case you didn’t read it and maybe want to have a little talk with the fellow who wrote it, here is the link to that Guyle Fielder article: http://sportspressnw.com/2011/05/wayback-machine-guyle-fielder-the-seattle-totems/

    Anyway, there is plenty of support around here for an NHL franchise. It’s just difficult to prove it when owners of current teams in other sports around here toss molotov cocktails into NHL board member meetings to end bids without the other investors permission and arenas are built around here with part of the design plan to make it so an NHL team couldn’t possibly play in there.

    The bottom line is that the NHL would work here. It’s just a matter of getting around the people who don’t want it to work. And that, sadly, is the biggest hurdle of them all to get over.

  • jafabian

    The fences didn’t make a difference when the M’s first moved into Safeco Field. Smoak needs to quit going for the fences and start using the entire field when the team plays at home. Sure, moving the fences in would be great for the hitters but what about the pitchers? Instead of losing 3-1 games they’d start losing at 8-4 scores. Safeco Field made Paul Abbott a 17 game winner.

    Only half the season is played at Safeco. What’s the excuse when they’re on the road? Professionals make adjustments. Not all fields are the same. Instead of trying to jack the ball out the hitters should focus on using the field more, getting on base and moving the runner over.

  • Lodowick

    Houston…we have separation. The booster rocket Mariner has achieved its purpose of lifting competitors toward the heavens and has now disengaged, fuel spent, and is in free fall toward the Sound. Promethean attempt. Sisyphusian result.

  • brandon

    Mariners need new ownership, pure and simple. We are tired
    of waiting for the big turn-around. This organization has done NOTHING to try
    to improve itself; it wants to spend as little money as possible and hope. The Mariners
    used to have a $100+ million pay-roll; we’ve turned that into an $80million
    Tripple-A team!!! Year after year Jack Z collects his pay, while big free
    agents go elsewhere. STOP FOCUSING SOLY ON DEFENCE!! & GOOD PITCHING IS GREAT, BUT
    POINTLESS IF YOU CAN’T SCORE!! SIGN A HITTER!!

  • FloydZ

    And yet the 2001 Mariners, playing at the same ballpark, hit for a .288 average and an .805 OPS. And they didn’t have a Griffey or A-Rod or any other “slugger”-type players. Olerud and Edgar weren’t considered power hitters, but they managed to hit over 20 homers while averaging over .300. Every starter hit over .250 . . . in the same ballpark as today. In 2006 the team average was .272; in 2007 it was .287; and as late as 2008 it was .265. The fact that the current bunch of players has been mired at a team average of about .234 for the past 3 years is a testament to the players, not the ballpark. Moving the fences in is akin to a whiner changing the rules of the game when he can’t win. The current crop of Mariners just plain can’t hit. Maybe they will, eventually. But altering the field to compensate for a poor batting team just seems wrong. And as many others have pointed out, why is it that visiting teams seem to hit just fine at Safeco? Bringing in the fences will help the visiting teams score runs as much as it would the M’s.