SBD/September 21, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

AHL Wolves Owner States Interest In Being Part Of NHL Expansion To Seattle

AHL Chicago Wolves Owner Don Levin is "optimistic it won't be long after the CBA is settled that the NHL will turn to expansion as the next phase in growing the league," according to Craig Custance of ESPN.com. Levin "wants in on the NHL and sees Seattle as an attractive way to get there." He "thinks Seattle would be considered one of the front-runners to land a new team." Levin: "I can tell you there are not teams for sale that are available to move. ... My understanding is that the Phoenix deal, (Greg Jamison) has come up with the money. The answer to the Islanders moving is never. They're not moving out of that market. No chance that's going to happen." Instead, Levin's plan "centers on expansion." He said he believes expansion will come in "three years." Custance notes investor Chris Hansen is leading an effort to land a new arena in Seattle, and his focus "is on bringing the NBA to Seattle." He "won't proceed with arena construction until he has a franchise secured." However, there are "key components of this deal that make it highly likely the NHL will be a part of Seattle's near future." Seattle is a city that has "long intrigued the NHL as a possible franchise destination." It is a "top 15 U.S. television market," and there is a "built-in rivalry just waiting to be created" with the Canucks (ESPN.com, 9/20). The GLOBE & MAIL's James Mirtle writes the NHL "has stronger interest in going to Seattle than any other market but has been waiting on the building to come together before considering it a realistic possibility." Expansion to 32 teams "has been talked about off and on in NHL circles for the past few years, with Quebec City and a second Toronto team getting much of the attention." However, the "league's brass want to continue to try and expand the league's footprint in the United States" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/21).
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