Bettman: Seattle arena status ‘very unsettled’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/CP)
June 4, 2014, 1:30 PM

If you’re a hockey fan yearning to see the NHL expand to Seattle in the near future, don’t hold your breath.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated Wednesday that there’s still plenty of work to be done before the league moves to the Emerald City.

“Seattle is just one of many [cities] that have expressed interest,” Bettman told Brady and Walker on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “We’re getting a lot of interest from Seattle, maybe more interest from Seattle in terms of number of parties than anywhere else.”


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman talks the Stanley Cup Final, the influx of young GMs in the NHL and the potential for expansion into Seattle


The biggest obstacle facing Seattle is the lack of an NHL-calibre arena.

Bettman visited Seattle last month and met with elected Seattle officials, including the city’s mayor Ed Murray and King County executive Dow Constantine, to get an update on the arena status.

“The building situation is very unsettled and frankly if there was no reasonable prospect of a building coming anytime soon in Seattle, there was really not a whole lot of point of people spinning their wheels continuing to express their interest,” Bettman explained. “What we learned is, yes, it’s very complex and [Chris Hansen] the person who controls the rights to build the building — at least for the next couple of years or so — is not interested in building a building right now unless he gets an NBA team.

“It’s a long-winded way of saying, ‘right now, there’s nothing going on in terms of building a building,’ and so it’s great to have expressions of interest, but there’s really nothing to do with them even if we wanted to.”

Hansen’s main objective is bringing an NBA team back to Seattle and although he has said he is not interested in being a majority owner of an NHL franchise, he would still like to see the NHL come to the city.

“We would like to bring the NHL to Seattle, the NHL would do really well,” Hansen recently told king5.com. “It would be fantastic.”

In 2012, Hansen and his partners won approval to build a state-of-the-art NBA/NHL arena. Last year, Hansen attempted to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle but the bid failed.

Seattle had been discussed as a potential destination for the Arizona Coyotes franchise when their ownership status was up in the air.

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