Gary Bettman: Seattle market would be intriguing for the NHL

Gary Bettman joined Prime Time Sports to talk about everything going on in the NHL, from the dipping Canadian dollar to the buzz growing as All-Star Weekend approaches.

The NHL did not receive an expansion application from any of the three potential groups in the Seattle area last year, but commissioner Gary Bettman is still keeping tabs from afar.

“I happen to think the Seattle market would be intriguing for the NHL at some point, but we’re not sitting around waiting for them to get their act together on an arena,” Bettman said Wednesday in a guest appearance on Prime Time Sports. “If it happens someday then we’ll deal with it at the time.”

Appearing on Sportsnet 590 The Fan, Bettman explained why the arena situation remains a major holdup for Seattle.

“Even if there was somebody interested in a team for Seattle in the downtown building, the person controlling it is more interested in an NBA team,” Bettman told co-hosts Bob McCown and Ken Reid. “I don’t think he was interested in constructing an arena just for an NHL team.

“I think it’s fair to say that Mr. (Chris) Hansen is more focused on a sport other than the NHL and while there are people interested in trying to get some things off the ground with him, perhaps his agenda was dominating those discussions.”

Otherwise, Bettman commented on Eugene Melnyk’s pursuit to win the right to redevelop LeBreton Flats and move the Senators to downtown Ottawa.

“If I’m not prepared to sell my team,” he explained. “(Eugene) Melnyk has no interest, you want to be in a building that you own and you control. He couldn’t be any clearer on the subject. It’s a view I respect and endorse.”

“I’m more focused on this and more involved on his behalf. The hope is his project actually is successful and the Senators get the building downtown, which I think would be terrific for Ottawa. Look at what’s going on in Edmonton. That city is using the team as the anchor tenant. Using the arena as an anchorpiece to a complete change in the landscape of downtown Edmonton. Melnyk has the same vision for Ottawa and it would be a win-win.”

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