BY Art Thiel 06:30AM 02/15/2016

Thiel: Stop with the KeyArena remodel talk

A Seatte Times story about remodeling KeyArena to counter Chris Hansen’s Sodo project misses the point: No private developer can own it, and the NBA and NHL don’t want the city of Seattle operating it.

People keep wanting to recycle KeyArena for big-time sports. / Sportspress Northwest file

In thinking about the future of KeyArena relative to Chris Hansen’s Sodo arena proposal, I’m reminded of author Larry McMurtry’s wonderful Western tale Lonesome Dove,  book and TV mini-series, in which lead character Gus McCrae remarks about the fashion sense of his pal, Woodrow McCall: “He ain’t one to quit on a garment just ’cause it’s gotta a little age.”

KeyArena is a Seattle garment that has a little age. At 53, it’s hardly the oldest suit in town, and still functional. But some people are eager to be buried in it.

A page-one story in the Seattle Times Sunday discussed yet another proposal for revivifying the Key for the NBA/NHL, as an alternative to Chris Hansen’s $500 million project in Sodo, now in year four of a five-year gestation.

Consultants from AECOM, a global architectural and engineering firm, were hired in 2014 by the City Council for $150,000 to look at whether a remodel — not a teardown — of the Key would be sufficient to host either or both winter pro sports.

For a relatively modest $285 million, the firm said it could be done. But the report was never given a public forum and played no part in the environmental impact statement released in May that said Hansen’s $500 million project was a better choice than a Key teardown/buildout.

Part of the problem was that the study was completed and made available to council members in November 2014, 14 months after the EIS’s public-comment period on the project was closed, according to the same Times story. The report was disclosed only after media requests were made for public documents.

The implication by the Times was that the council deliberately kept the report quiet, worried about contradicting the likely outcome of the EIS. But none of the council members quoted offered any evidence of a hush-up. And it is a public document, not hidden among Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Whether the report was pigeon-holed, I don’t know. Because I haven’t read the AECOM report, I don’t know whether it offers a plausible alternative.

What I do know is that there is one major player in the arena deal with serious skin in the game, and that is Hansen. Not the the city of Seattle. Not King County. Not Los Angeles businessman and hockey advocate Victor Coleman. Not Tukwila arena proponent and Connecticut investment banker Ray Bartoszek.

Only Hansen is considerably invested in the project. And Hansen doesn’t want a remodeled Key. Nor does he want anything to do with Seattle Center, except as a potential temporary home for an NHL team, should a partner surface who is willing to buy an NHL team and share in the private expense to build the Sodo arena.

An NHL partner could surface if Hansen’s project gets green-lighted by vacating two blocks of a street upon which the arena will squat. That requires a City Council vote that could come as soon as April 25.

If approved, two things likely will happen: The city will issue a master use permit to begin the project, and arena opponents will challenge the project in court.

But in no case will the city’s financial commitment to Hansen, as outlined in a memorandum of understanding between him, the city and county in 2012, begin until he gets an NBA team secured. Failing that, he has to ask the council for a rewrite of the MOU to bring the NHL first, for which he needs a team owner.

Until then, until all of that, chill with the Key as an alternative.

In fact, put it in the deep freeze permanently.

The problem Hansen has with the Key is the problem any developer would have: It’s a public building in what amounts to a public park. Never before had an NBA arena been in a public park, nor will one ever again.

The only way the Key gets redeveloped at all is through a philanthropic donation or a public vote among Seattle taxpayers. Good freaking luck to either idea.

All along, Hansen has said an important aspect of the project is an entertainment district surrounding the arena, which he would own and for which he has purchased the land. The reason is that an arena that is mostly privately funded is going to need more than 100-plus event dates from a combined NBA/NHL venue as well as concerts, conventions, flat shows, etc. To service construction debt, it needs revenues from night clubs, hotels, bars, etc.,  that operate most of 365 days.

Can you imagine slapping in a couple night clubs adjacent to a remodeled Key at Seattle Center? The thousand constituencies that use Seattle Center for its current purposes would set City Hall on fire. They would be joined by all lower Queen Anne businesses who perceive the threat of revenue loss.

The only way around the objections of Hansen or any other sane person with a lot of money is for the city to deed over the needed portion of the Center grounds for a private arena development. That would certainly raise some needed cash for the city, as it would, say, if your father sold the living room of your home for rock-band rehearsals.

But a similar deed has been done in Seattle. The elegant spire that has become the city’s global icon is a private building. It sits on private land, given over by the city in the late 1950s to private developers who had this big notion about a world’s fair putting Seattle on the map.

The Space Needle turned out just about perfect for public users and private owners.

But the times and circumstances are far different. The city’s politics are all about protecting public land, not selling it off to developers. And the city has proven to be an inept manager of an entertainment venue, or did you think that it was a good idea giving the Sonics a 15-year lease when the construction-bond retirement schedule for the 1995 Key remodel was 20 years?

It would be safer to give a toddler a fork near an electrical outlet than to put the city in charge of a 21st century sports palace.

This is not to suggest that Hansen’s project has it nailed, nor will even survive the obstacles known and unknown.

But it is to say it’s the only thing going. And until it lives or dies, everything else is street-rat crazy.

Considering the general idea of spiffing up the tattered Key for big-time sports, regardless of who said what when, let us return to Lonesome Dove, where Eddie Suggs is puzzling over why brother Dan needs to hang two men he’s already shot:

“Shot ’em, gonna hang ’em, then gonna burn ’em!” said Dan. “Damn sodbusters. Can’t ever be too dead to suit me.”



  • ReebHerb

    Not so fast with the DOA talk of any partnership with the parks department and private sector to bring pro sports back to Key Arena. This could be a big coming out party for the parks department’s development director. The director, Michael Shiosaki, is said to be well connected.

    • Justin Van Eaton

      It’s irrelevant how well connected he is. Citizens would never approve it–especially for what needs to be done. You might as well tell them you are going to Bulldoze the Space Needle too.

      • ReebHerb

        You’re right. No more tongue in cheek for me. I was trying to incorporate something about a flame thrower but couldn’t come up with anything quickly.

        • Justin Van Eaton

          Sorry if I missed the tongue in cheek aspect of your point. ;)

    • art thiel

      The one guy who needed to be connected to was Steve Ballmer, who took his hoops money to LA. But I didn’t dismiss a potential Center solution — deeding over a part of the grounds to private development. But it’s a very long shot.

  • Jamo57

    Unfortunately, and for reasons I cannot figure out, the Seattle Times is not an objective news source regarding the arena issue. As such, the Times has been rendered irrelevant in my mind in its coverage on this issue.

    Having said that as a resident residing outside of King County, my first option on any visit downtown is to do so via public transit. In fact, isn’t that the City of Seattle’s intention as well, to encourage any visit by suburban residents to be done so via transit? (Given the scarcity and rising cost of parking, one has to assume so).

    As such, Key Arena simply won’t work in my mind because “you can’t get there from here.” I see no way of being able to attend a night game and take public transit to and from the outlying areas. And Sound Transit is decades away, if ever, of connecting Ballard, Seattle Center, and points in between with the planned Light Rail arterials. The express buses all go to SoDo. The Snohomish County lines bring riders to Westlake Center but then a Monorail connection is required. Post game that becomes very cumbersome.

    The Times’ analysis of the Arena always operates in a vacuum, most likely intentionally, with no broader vision of what this dead horse of an option would look like in actual reality. Art thanks for pointing out the public park aspect, another characteristic I was not conscious of before. Yeah, ceding part to a private developer makes no sense and would result in another political quagmire with no possible resolution in favor of a new arena. Perhaps that is the Times’ motivation……..

    • Tian Biao

      I agree 100%. For whatever reason, the Seattle Times is patently biased on this issue, both in its editorials, and its reporting. Editorials are one thing, but the biased articles are an embarrassment. Not sure what their agenda is, but the bias is obvious. That paper needs to grow up; it’s a tired relic of old small-town Seattle.

      As for Key Arena, come on. It’s old, small, badly located, and entirely unsuitable for modern big-time sports. Its only use is as a stalking horse for opponents of the Hansen arena. Which, as Art says, is the only option that has gone beyond mere talk and speculation.

      • art thiel

        As I said above, the Times’ editorial agenda is the Mariners’ agenda.

        I didn’t bother with the location issue, but the Seattle Center hasn’t gotten any closer to the wealthy Eastside since the Sonics left. And Amazon has already filled up the “improved” Mercer St corridor.

        • Comrade Suge

          The Mariner’s agenda is to get the new NBA team on Root Sports. That’s why they initially opposed the Sonics. Having said all of that, it’s not like the Seahawks been very hospitable either to the idea of an arena next to them.

          • art thiel

            The Mariners would like another big-league pro team on Root, but not necessarily if it means the arena is next door. They’re not losing money on Root.

    • Justin Van Eaton

      I had this exact conversation with someone a couple years ago. Their argument was you could take the bus. Well sure, but as a non-city resident, that is difficult at best, and intimidating besides. I didn’t mind the drive 10 years ago, but these days it is a non-starter for me as Seattle becomes more and more difficult to drive in with bike lanes that make no logical sense, increased traffic, and a never-ending construction cycle.

      • art thiel

        The city’s demographics are ever-changing, and it might happen that all the newbies in town could fill the new center arena for NBA/NHL. But that means anyone who can’t manage public transit in the larger region is out of luck for the Center commute.

    • art thiel

      The Times editorial page is strongly in support of the Mariners, who obviously oppose the arena next door to Safeco. So any alternative that kills the Sodo project sounds good to them.

      And recycling is a long held tradition in Seattle.

      Does the Monorail help get you the last mile to the Center from Westllake?

      • Topcatone

        Why are the Mariners against it in SODO?

        • art thiel

          Assuming you are a newcomer, the Mariners publicly raged against the idea when first disclosed in 2011 because of traffic and parking. Their issue is less about NBA/NHL games and more about the arena uses in weekdays during the summer months of a Mariners season.

          • Topcatone

            Well, don’t know the plans, but I assume the NBA/NHL arena would have a good amount of parking (which would be available to those going to Mariner’s games as well). I like the mass transit push, but still, for the east siders etc where rail etc doesn’t work, you need parking.

          • art thiel

            Hansen improved his parking plan after the city planning board requested it. But until the Lander Street overpass, at $100M-plus, becomes reality, Sodo is going to be a weekday clog for all.

        • They will lose out on suite sales to the new arena just as KeyArena lost out to new Safeco Field. The shoe is on the other foot.

      • bugzapper

        Never underestimate the meddling ability of Town Car Lincoln. His talents aren’t limited to producing losers on the field.

      • Jamo57

        If I were going to consider some sort of 10 game pack to a hockey team located in the Key I would probably research what connections were available from Stewart St. corridor to Seattle Center but I suspect the Monorail is the best option as it runs every few minutes or so. Leaving the Arena on a cold and rainy February night would necessitate something.

        Last year when the NCAA tournament was there we just drove the two days. But my preference would be to be a low impact sports fan and not add to Seattle’s traffic congestion. Realistically, probably wouldn’t go that often for night games and hope they would do Sunday afternoon games a few times a year.

      • Kirkland

        I thought I heard talk about extending the Westlake-SLU trolley to reach the Center. Wonder how feasible/effective that would be as a solution. Might also improve parking; for a past Bumbershoot I parked downtown and took the monorail in, and that saved me a lot of stress looking for Center parking.

        • art thiel

          If KeyArena again were a major destination, a trolley/rail extension would be mandatory.

    • art thiel

      Transportation issues always dogged the Key when it hosted the Sonics, and I’m not sure the widening of Mercer has made an appreciable improvement.

      • ChefJoe

        Kind of ironic how funds for the lander street overpass that would help SoDo were used on fixing the mercer mess. Sort like the city is destined to be one step behind where the NBA wants their arena.

        • art thiel

          Almost 15 years ago, the city declared the Lander St. flyover important in solving freight transport in Sodo. Still waiting on a solution that is now estimated to cost $120M.

      • 1coolguy

        It didn’t, now the South Lake Union has been developed.

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  • Topcatone

    SODO by Hansen is the only good answer. Transportation (via light rail, ferries, bus, walk from downtown) is really good (check out the arena in downtown Nashville for a success story). Add restaurants and you have a great area. Puts all the sports in one area. And hockey and NBA don’t really overlap with baseball very much date wise. Many many cities suffer under nutcase owners (usually 1%ers). Hansen seems really sane and decent, and basically is acquiring all the land and doing the building at his cost (but I think public will pay for some part, to be reimbursed by concession revenue). Hansen is a gift horse. But current NBA and NHL chiefs are stubborn, resistant for what reason I cannot figure out. I mean, NHL in Las Vegas??? Crazy, stupid idea. Might as well build an arena in Honolulu.

    • art thiel

      I’m not as sold on the transpo “hub” solution. While it works in theory, there is the point that the slowest part of the turning wheel is the hub.

      As far as the NBA, Stern told us in 2007 that if I-91 became law, the Sonics would leave and not return on his watch. He was right. And Silver doesn’t like the Hansen revenue deal because it puts too much risk on the private side.

      The city is apprehensive about an NHL partnership because the market isn’t proven. The Canadian dollar’s fade is a part of that.

      • Kirkland

        Biased I am, but I think the Council is underestimate the appetite for the NHL. Hockey fans are more loyal than golden retrievers. I’m sure Seattle NHL would get a following as intense as the Sounders fans, who came out of nowhere.

        • art thiel

          I don’t think anyone can say with any certainty how well a major league sport with no history in a marketplace will succeed, especially when, by 2018, it will cost a hockey fan $150 just to get in the door.

          • Macfunk

            Come on Art. We won the Stanley Cup in 1917 . . .

          • art thiel

            Should have had two more.

          • 1coolguy

            I don’t see hockey working here, but with all the new residents from elsewhere, maybe it would.

          • Pixdawg13

            I think hockey here would draw a LOT of people from the Vancouver area–it’s impossible to get a ticket for the Canucks.

          • art thiel

            That’s a big part of the NHL’s interest. And I’m sure the council has a right to be nervous, given the history here with pro sports ownerships.

  • bugzapper

    The Key is a huge white elephant nobody can give away. Ever try to put lipstick on an elephant? You get this:

    • art thiel

      No need to hurt further the feelings of a heartbroken pachyderm on Valentine’s weekend.

  • Kirkland

    Instead of reconverting the Key for the NBA and NHL, why not either 1) downsize it to about 10K, more appropriate for the Storm, minor league hockey and the like; or 2) convert it to a Nokia Theater-like concert venue for acts too big for the Paramount yet too small for SODO or the Tacoma Dome?

    • art thiel

      The concert market for a venue with a single truck-loading bay right now is OK, and the Key operates in the black annually, thanks to Clay Bennett paying off the mortgage. But downsizing makes it like several other venues in the three-county marketplace.

      I have ideas for a non-sports solution for the Key, but that’s another column.

      • oldcrimson

        Um, hello?? You can’t just throw that out there. Tease, tease, tease.

    • Jamo57

      The problem is the Seattle Thunderbirds already fled Seattle Center for Kent. With the Tips in Everett I can’t see a third minor league hockey team working in the area.

  • PokeyPuffy

    Hard to wrap my mind around this family of issues, as it doesn’t seem the NBA is coming to Seattle any time soon… or did i miss something?

    • art thiel

      The NBA is not coming anytime soon, which is why the talk centers on the NHL first. But the larger rink size makes the Key unworkable for the NHL game.

  • Daniel O. Woolett

    There has been a lack of vision regarding development of what is supposed to be the hub of civic activity in Seattle: The Center, pretty much since the World’s Fair. Remove the Fun Forest? Well, ok. Replacing it with? An asphalt park. The Arena has been storage for PNB props etc since the 2001 quake. Memorial Stadium was outdated when the original Sounders played there. But hey, we’ve got happy hour @ The Armory, More Chihuly and yet another condo/retail building on the property where the 76 Skyride ended, called……Expo. Get it? I grew up with the Sonics and games @ The Coliseum. Had season tickets in the 90s, but……not gonna happen.

    • art thiel

      You’re talking about a grander vision for the Center, a discussion that has gone on for about 50 years in Seattle. But until private enterprise gets a stake in the outcome, action regarding something bigger, better and more cohesive will be more than any mayor or council can handle.

      • Daniel O. Woolett

        Makes one wonder what the outcome of the talked about and much feared potential agreement with Disney, back in the 80s would have been.

        • art thiel

          The fear of Disneyfication killed that idea, and I don’t remember the particulars. But I do know many Center users who value the green space the way New Yorkers, in a much grander way, value Central Park.

          • Daniel O. Woolett

            I’m all for that. Nothing like sitting in the grass by the Fountain. How about more green in the Fun Forest space? OK, I could go on about this all day. There was just something about walking out of the Coliseum or Key Arena after a game or event and looking up @ the Space Needle. Thanks for the column, and your replies.

      • ChefJoe

        In one of the earlyvcouncil discussions with Hansen, Bagshaw invited Chris to come and discuss using the KeyArena for $1 or whatever. It’s not like there wasn’t an opportunity there.

        Also, this $150k study was called for by the MOU and, although he offered to contract for the study himself, Burgess laid down that this would be requested by the city and only re-imbursed by Hansen. IIRC, Hansen had issues with how much the city pays for studies sometimes.

        • art thiel

          Thanks for the backgrounder. The city always has pushed the Center to Hansen for obvious reasons. And Hansen believes it can’t work there, for reasons stated, and more.

  • ModeBeast

    HOLY CATS! STILL with this? The point is moot because the NBA is NEVER COMING BACK.

    • MrPrimeMinister

      And so then the question is why are city and county resources being wasted on this issue? For Seattle at least, are there more important things which need attention?

      • art thiel

        Because the former mayor, this mayor and several council members think it’s worthwhile, IF a private developer creates a community asset worth their time and money.

  • Illuminati Doomsday

    Best Lonesome dove quote: “What do you need legs for? All you do is sit on the porch and drink whiskey.” (Woodrow to Gus because Gus refuses to have his gangerine infected legs amputated.)

    • art thiel

      So many wonderful lines. We could be here all day.

  • 1coolguy

    I agree 100% Art.
    For those who never had Sonic season tickets as I did, unless you live on Queen Anne, getting there was a nightmare. Does one have to be reminded the NBA season is mostly during the RAINY, DARK Seattle months (like today), which combined with the horrible road system, makes getting to the game for a 7:15 start an absolute nightmare.
    The confluence of I-90 and I-5 with 99 nearby the stadium area is the ONLY logical location for another arena, which is why Hanson purchased his property there.
    Key was built for the 1962 World’s Fair when Seattle had many fewer people and was not intended to be a permanent facility.
    The City of Seattle does a very so-so job of running the Key and should simply SELL the Key and surrounding property to a developer and let private money improve the area. The funds received from the sale can be the portion of City funds that would go toward Hanson’s arena. This would keep the government out of the business world of running a facility, would put the property on the property tax roles and the owner/operator would clearly improve the arena.
    Hanson’s project is the only way to go for the NBA & NHL, BUT it is anyone’s guess as to whether there will be franchises available in the near future.

    • ChefJoe

      You think they spent $4.5 million in the 1960s to build a disposable Washington State Coliseum ? They always intended to repurpose it.

    • art thiel

      A private lease/sale option is worth a look, which is why I brought up the Space Needle situation. But a private developer would have to be hired at huge expense — $285M, according to the AECOM report. Which politician will advocate for that publicly?

  • Sonics79

    The Key would be”sufficient”. The SoDo arena would be a palace, and clean up that neighborhood.

    • ChefJoe

      “this stadium/arena/field/dome will clean up the neighborhood”

      – said all sodo stadium backers since the 1960s kingdome plans

    • art thiel

      You mean the strip club, or the Showbox?

    • Kirkland

      Like to see how that new KING-5 building will help.

      • art thiel

        I don’t think the newscasts will have 20,000 for Dennis and Lori.

  • Tman

    If a new arena were such a good deal, another private investor would step up to the plate.

    The Green Bay Packers municipal ownership model is the model all sports franchises should follow.

    What right does any individual, or group of individuals, have to own the sports team bearing the cities name?

    What right do cities have subsidizing private individuals and “investor groups” with millions of tax payer dollars to build stadiums?

    Is it possible the investors in this scheme will actually put up nothing, the cities share paying the entire cost of building the arena?

    If the public is to pay, the public should own the franchise, the team, the real estate, the arena, concessions and the parking.

    Imagine the city of seattle taking the profits, providing a low cost ticket taxpayers could afford. Imagine the city providing low to no cost tickets to families otherwise unable to see the games.

    Imagine no games at all..the way its been since an Oklahoma oil man paid starbucks owner a fortune and moved the team to Oklahoma.

    Are our tax dollars better spent providing housing for those people hunkered down in doorways of the buildings on first, second, third and fourth Avenue’s, trying to protect themselves from the bitter cold blowing in off Elliott Bay and the cops poking them in the ribs telling them to move on just as they were falling off to sleep?

    • Kirkland

      I believe a lot of the leagues now prohibit public ownership of teams; it’s either individuals or companies. The Packers are grandfathered in, but if some gazillionaire tries to buy all the stock in a hostile takeover, all bets are off.

      • art thiel

        GB is the only municipally run team in major pro sports. No leagues would allow it. Fortunately. We can’t decide to synchronize our traffic lights.

        • Kirkland

          With a city that small (compared to other major sports cities), it’s the only place where it could work.

    • art thiel

      The higher-uses-for-tax-money argument has been around a long time. But the notions are not mutually exclusive. Politicians are in office to make the decisions about what and how to fund.

      Hansen made his deal with Seattle’s progressive attitude in mind, and had the mayor and council sign off on in it in 2012. His view is he’s asking for what amounts to a loan to be paid back from arena revs. No new taxes, no redirection of current taxes.

      And the last thing I would want it Seattle, or any municipality, in charge of running a pro sports team. OMG.

      • Tman

        Just curious. Is Green Bay making a mess of things?

        In a government of, by and for the people, a democracy, the government emlpoys people who work for the benefit of the people.

        Unimpeded, they generally do a great job.

        Example: Bonneville Power Administration.

        We, the people, used our tax dollars to build the dams, create the distribution system and pay cost plus 10% for the electricity that powers our homes, cars and factories. PUD’s charge us 6.5 cents per KWH.

        Get a private investor group, say Puget Sound Energy involved, they add a handsome profit, charging its customers 10 to 12 cents/KWH.

        Why do we do that? Bonneville and the PUD’s do the job fine.

        The abuse comes in when government issues a contract for a private company to do the job. The folks you see standing around on their shovels on a road job? They are working for a private company bilking the taxpayers.

        We see this phenomenon most easily in private prisons and war for profit. Taxpayers overcharged for the profit of private companies whose services were never needed in the first place.

        The question becomes, what do owners bring to the game? The next question is why should we the people build stadiums for them..albeit a “Loan”.

        If its a good loan, a bank will make the loan.

        • art thiel

          Governments are far more suited to execute on utilities projects, public safety and health and other enterprises that require common-good municipal oversight than they are entertainment enterprises.

          Green Bay is an anomaly grandfathered in from the 1930s that works primarily because the Packers are almost entirely the town’s industrial and cultural center. I think any seasoned observer of civics and politics would shudder at the prospect of the chaos inherent in a municipally owned team anywhere else.

          Regarding the Hansen loan: Using the the bonding capacity of a municipality can mean a borrowing rate of 3-4 percent compared to a private source that would cost 7-8 percent. Over 30 years, the difference is many millions. I get why he prefers to go through Seattle and King County.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    Take the eddie jones dome for instance. How has that facility become obsolete after just 20 years? Just because some fat cat owner says so. 20 years is not that old folks.

    • art thiel

      The remodel was inadequate the day it was done. It was the league’s smallest, with narrow concourses and no significant club space. But since the NBA approved it, it shouldn’t turn around eight years later and say it’s economically obsolete. But they did, and it helped send the Sonics packing.

      • MrPrimeMinister

        So the logic is we(seattle sports fans) were burned once on the re-model, and then twice on the stealing of the team, but this time, the third time around, everything is going to be ok. Not buying it.

    • Kirkland

      Rams fans said that place was a terribly designed mausoleum from day one. Terrible sound system, inadequate concessions and restroom facilities, that type of stuff. Kind of like the Kingdome.

  • Scott Crosser

    You have to wonder whats up with times reporting.

  • Robin & Maynard

    Actually, the toddler would need two forks…… to complete the circuit. One won;t do it, but I like the notion.

    • ChefJoe

      or one hot terminal and something ground-ish like a floor they stand on.

    • art thiel

      I want you to prove that. Hopefully, on TV.

  • Billy Johnson

    I don’t totally disagree with you Art, but there are some considerations. The AECOM report is very indepth and has detailed schematics of a converted Key Arena with 17000 seat hockey arena. If there was also to be a conversion of the NW rooms with the arena for revenue generating activity and a parking garage the Key would be viable. I get that these things are difficult to obtain, but are they any more difficult than Hansen’s NBA only approach? The reality is the NHL wants to be in Seattle and the NBA doesn’t and Hansen has all of the cards. The hockey option has not fared well in this city when its future is decided by basketball people. Ackerley is proof of that. I don’t trust Hansen much more than Barry.