Where can Phoenix go?

Hey guys, a good friend of mine had sent me a blog post that he thought would be a good discussion for The Checking Line. Victor creates some good argument points for why Phoenix can move into either Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington.

(Victor D’Alesio – Checking Line member and reader)

With all the fun and exciting news around the NHL this off-season, it is only fitting that someone projects where the Phoenix Coyotes will end up in the years to come.  While most of the hockey world was busy following #jagrwatch (I was hoping it would be #strakawatch), I was thinking about where Phoenix should go.  In doing a little bit of research, I came up with a couple of options that would be a great fit.

Seattle, Washington

Competitive market:

Since the Seattle Super-Sonics of the NBA left in 2008, Seattle has been dying for more sports; that is, successful sports.  I say this because the Seahawks of the NFL have not been up to the competitive task as of recent years.  The sports junkies of Seattle finally got their wish with the founding of the Seattle Sounders in 2007.  This team of the MLS (that’s right, soccer is “successful” in America) has already set MLS records for attendance in its infancy.  This just goes to show how desperate Seattle is for some kind of sports team, at this point they will take anything.

The Sounders were named so in 2008 by FAN voting, yes, desperate for competitive sports, FANS! Since the debut of the soccer club, they have sold out every league match and have set an MLS record for average fan attendance.  They have also led the MLS in season ticket sales.  The fans are as hardcore and rowdy as most hockey fans out there and include a 53-man marching band which cheers on the team at games.  This could stir up a nice rivalry with Vancouver as well as the 3 teams in California.

Why:

With the potential sporting market available in Seattle, I think that the fan base would appreciate and accept an NHL team.  To only have to compete with a miserable football team and an MLS soccer club (yes, that would actually be “competition”), this market is prime and ready for some new blood.  Honestly, the fans in Seattle could treat a new sports team with more respect than some cities show their current NHL teams.

Portland, Oregon

Competitive market:

There is none…just kidding.  The biggest threat to an NHL team in Oregon is NCAA Division 1 football, i.e. the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers.  Also, the up and coming Portland Trailblazers of the NBA, who may be facing a lock-out next season, as well as the brand new Portland Timbers of the MLS.  The Timbers have been able to draw in large crowds in their inaugural season, which goes to show the desperation of sports fans for any type of sports team.

Why:

With Portland struggling to find competitive professional sports, I can see the addition of an NHL team taking off with great fan support.  Not only would this placement be a juicy, untapped market, but it would also pose a potential rivalry with the entire west coast!

Somewhere in Canada

Competitive market:

Other NHL teams; but seriously, Canada can NOT get enough hockey.

Why:

WHY NOT!?

Comments and constructive criticisms are greatly appreciated!

 

-Victor D’Alesio (ItlnStln17)

 

After reading this I would have to say that keeping Pheonix in the Pacific will not only help when in it comes to travel time and restructuring, it will also allow rivalries to be renewed. This area is not what many would consider a hockey hotbed, but thanks to NCAA football, rivalries within the area already exist. The Pac12 followers know these areas well and adding a professional team to the mix creates more animosity as well as another reason to watch your team on a regular basis. As some may know, nothing breeds a rivalry like hate and with a disdain for one another already, the North West cities of Portland and Seattle could help breed the hockey markets of the West.

12 Comments

George Prax's picture

I would have to go with seattle. The market is there, I assume they have an arena left over from the Super-Sonics, and its proximity to the Canucks will only help them.

Canada is always an option, but I'm afraid with the Jets back, that's it for Canada for a while. Hamilton could support a team but it seems as if the high density of teams in the area won't allow it, although I don't see them hurting the Leafs or even the Sabres really. Quebec really wants a team but I've said it before and I'll say it again. They have no arena, no potential owners, nothing. Just a flamboyant mayor and some fans who would likely turn out to be very fickle. If Phoenix moves it will be like Atlanta - it will need to be done quickly. And Winnipeg had an arena and potential owners in place for a long time before they got a team.

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

They do have the open arena to be transformed into a hockey rink. They also have a strong relationship with their sports teams, so if it were to be a quick move with little restructuring, I dont see why they would pass up on Seattle.

George Prax's picture

Do you know if there's any ownership group interested? Cause that's like 90% of what holds some of these cities back.

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

They have an ownership group that expressed interest when Atlanta was up for sale, but they dropped out because the Super Sonics arena would not be able to house an NHL crowd. They are still waiting to see what happens with Phoenix, because they have stated that if needed, they have their team play one season in the old KeyArena and then build a new arena in neighboring Bellevue. But so far, the largest problem is that Seattle's KeyArena is to old and they would need a new one, suprisingly I thought it was the ownership situation as well.

ItlnStln17's picture

Totally agree. My biggest argument was for Seattle. Portland could do it as well, but I believe that the fan base and location of Seattle would better benefit the NHL as well as its fans.

ItlnStln17's picture

Ownership group somewhat in place, however the concern is with the housing of the team in an arena. It seems that a new one would have to be constructed rather than taking over the old Super Sonics arena.

George Prax's picture

Thanks for the link. I'm guessing you're the one who wrote the article? Good job lol

nowhere's picture

What is it with Chicago based owners getting involved - first in Phoenix and now in Seattle? I would think it's best for the ownership to be based in the same community as the team. In this way the ownership has some pre-existing financial interest in the area, knows the politics, fan base, etc.

George Prax's picture

I don't think where the owners are from really matters. Yes, a local owner would be ideal, but it doesn't necessarily hinder the team. Habs' owner until the local Molsons bought them last year was an American investor from Colorado and he was actually a good owner.

nowhere's picture

Guess I'm used to having the Detroit based Hockey, Baseball, & Football teams being owned locally.

George Prax's picture

I'm not saying there isn't merit in having local owners, like I said the habs owners are local know, just saying that it CAN work externally so long as they're committed.