The NHL may have a contingency plan in place for the Phoenix Coyotes.
According to multiple reports over the weekend, the NHL has made Seattle their alternative option if the City of Glendale fails to approve of a new lease agreement.
Seattle mayor Mike McGinn confirmed to NBC affiliate King 5 that he has had discussions with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
“I let him know of the situation here, and that we were supportive of bringing the NHL to Seattle,” McGinn said. “We have Key Arena, so we talked about the potential of them being in Key Arena while we continue to work on a new arena plan.”
McGinn reportedly met with a group of potential investors including Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza, who are interested in bringing the Coyotes to Seattle.
The Seattle Mayor is excited about the possibility of an NHL franchise but understands the league’s ideal preference would be to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix.
“I really want to bring down expectations. We are very clearly Plan B for the NHL and this team. I feel compelled to say this after the experience we had with Sacramento than the likelihood of us having a team here in a couple of weeks is low.”
If the Coyotes relocated to Seattle, they would play their games in Key Arena for two years until a new arena is built. Key Arena was built in 1962 and could sit only 11,000 people for hockey games.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston wrote last week that the Coyotes saga was nearing a resolution and if the RSE group was unable to reach a deal with Glendale — the NHL may have considered moving the team for next season.
“Obviously, we’re getting to the point where some decisions are going to have to be made, both by the city of Glendale and by us,” Bettman said before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final. “We haven’t set a deadline, but the time is getting shorter. … We’re still focused on making it work with the Coyotes staying in Arizona.”
The decision on whether the Coyotes move will be dependent whether the City of Glendale and Renaissance Sports and Entertainment are able to reach a lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena.