Canucks Stand To Benefit From Seattle's NHL Expansion Team
The Canucks see the addition of Seattle as an NHL market as "more than adding a rival 2 1/2 hours away by car," as Seattle will "be a critical partner for the future success of both franchises," according to Tim Booth of the AP. Canucks COO Jeff Stipec said, "We're going to be able to grow the sport of hockey in this region, working with the Seattle team." NHL Seattle President & CEO Tod Leiweke said Vancouver is "already a partner," as they were the "most enthusiastic team in the league" about expansion. Leiweke: "They love the idea of this rivalry. ... One of the great things that is going to come out of all this is a deep, deep visceral connection between Vancouver and Seattle and we're going to play some great games." Booth notes adding Seattle to the NHL "helps the Canucks in various ways, from marketing, to travel, to simply interest in the game." Stipec is "already planning ways" for the team to "sell Seattle's addition, even if it's three years away." While the proximity of the two cities would seem to "create issues when competing for dollars on the business side, it doesn't appear that will be the case largely because of the border." The U.S.-Canada border "creates a natural break between the two teams, both in their attempts to gain market share, but also in corporate dollars and talent acquisition" (AP, 12/7). In Vancouver, Patrick Johnston wrote having a Seattle NHL team will "only serve to enhance the Canucks' marketing efforts." TSN's Tom Mayenknecht said the expansion is "just another reason for people in and around Vancouver and between here and Seattle to care about hockey" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/6).