Chris Hansen (Mike McGinn/Wikimedia Commons)
Seattle arena investor Chris Hansen said Tuesday that he hasn’t been approached with a single formal offer or proposal regarding an NHL team in the city. Hansen and the city of Seattle came to a deal saying the arena needed an NBA team to get the green light, but Seattle’s mayor said an NHL team would make him reconsider.
If the NHL is going to expand or move to Seattle any time soon, someone should probably let arena investor Chris Hansen know about it.
In an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday, Hansen said he hasn’t had a single formal offer with regards to making an NHL team the first occupant of the building, adding that no one has even come forward with a proposal to make a hockey team the first tenant of the potential arena.
“We’ve had a lot of informal discussions with people about this, but us or the city have yet to be presented with any kind of offer,” Hansen told the Associated Press. “I mean any kind of even basic offer that would be the opening point for negotiating something.”
“I just want to make that clear,” he continued. “No one has come forward and made an offer to do this in a way that would be unacceptable or acceptable. There hasn’t been any negotiation around the terms of how this could be changed. We’ve taken a very simple approach: don’t make it worse for us and don’t make it worse for the city and use your own creativity and just come back to us with something that is fair and we don’t have anything back yet.”
The original agreement between the city of Seattle and Hansen was that, were an arena to be built, it would be approved on the grounds that Seattle had secured the rights to an NBA team to be the primary tenant of the building. However, it has appeared less likely Seattle will get an NBA team in the near future, which has led some to believe the arena could be built with an NHL club becoming the building’s first occupant.
Building the arena with an NHL team on its way – what’s being called a “hockey-first” plan – would require restructuring of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Hansen and the city of Seattle. The first agreement, a basketball-first agreement, was inked more than two years ago but hasn’t gained any traction as the NBA has neither relocated nor expanded in that time. There has been some talk of changing the MOU to allow for the hockey-first plan, and Seattle mayor Ed Murray even admitted he would be open to discussions about changing the agreement.
"I'm committed to doing everything I can to get an NBA and NHL team here in Seattle,” Murray told KING 5’s Chris Daniels. “And Seattle is absolutely the only place for an NHL and NBA team here in our region.
"As I've said before, I stand by the MOU that the city signed which requires the NBA to commit to Seattle before an arena can be built. But given what we've heard from the NBA, I'm open to the idea of the NHL coming to Seattle first. I am ready to listen and would be willing to reconsider the MOU if there is an NHL-first proposal that pencils out for the City."
That proposal is yet to come, though. There have been rumors about groups potentially working toward an expansion team in Seattle and there’s the ever-present buzz that a franchise with financial struggles such as the Arizona Coyotes could be relocated to the state of Washington, but nothing has come of either.
So, while Las Vegas rolls on with an arena, a prospective owner and a ticket drive in full force, expansion to Seattle seems as far off as ever.