We’ve said it before, the deadline was July 20th, 2015. That was the day that cities in North America were to show that they had interest in the National Hockey League coming to their city in which a check for $10 million would accompany their application. Only Las Vegas and Quebec City met this requirement. No one else, including Seattle, submitted a bid but we will are hearing that the league is still waiting on Seattle because in the world of common sense it makes sense. Sometime in January, Seattle will vote on whether or not to give Chris Hansen the go ahead to put a shovel in the ground to make the Sodo Arena a reality. The problem is the bond that would assist Hansen in building an arena is to only be used for a NBA franchise. This ultimately could force Hansen to build his arena with private funds or not at all. It’s becoming clear to me that the NHL would prefer two teams in the West, Vegas and Seattle while Quebec would be a landing spot for a team to relocate. In reality this makes sense and it doesn’t mean Vegas would have to wait for Seattle to build their barn.
As for who would be moving, that crystal clear as well. The Arizona Coyotes have shown some improvement in attendance and should remain that way as long as the team stays in contention for a playoff spot. The Florida Panthers have averaged 900 more fans per game this season so the arrow is pointing in the right direction there too, leaving one franchise that is obviously going to struggle if something isn’t done, the Carolina Hurricanes.
In 2006-2007, Carolina averaged well over 17,000 fans per game , filling 92% of their arena. Granted this was the year after their Stanley Cup win in 2005 when they beat the Edmonton Oilers. Now we fast forward to 2015, they can barely fill half their building, settling in dead last, by a wide margin, in league attendance. I suppose this will happen when you’ve missed the playoffs six straight years and are destined for a seventh.
I feel strongly that there will be some sort of an announcement at the All Star Break. The league will have all their presentations and phases of expansion out of the way and the vote in Seattle would have taken place. It will be a year since Las Vegas started selling season tickets to a population that people doubted would sell 5,000 let alone 14,000. We met the deadline in respect the National Hockey League’s deadline. Now it’s time for them to respect us with an answer, January 31st, at the All-Star Game.