Before the Phoenix Coyotes struck a deal to keep them in Glendale for at least the next five years, the city of Portland, Oregon, was, according to one report, seriously in the mix to land the financially troubled franchise.
Today, in the Portland Tribune, Trail Blazers President/CEO Chris McGowan confirmed that report, suggesting that billionaire owner Paul Allen (pictured) is intrigued at the thought of adding an NHL team to his pro sports portfolio that already includes an NBA franchise (the Blazers) an NFL team (the Seattle Seahawks), and an MLS club (Seattle Sounders).
McGowan says the Blazers “never made an offer” for the Coyotes, but that an extensive market analysis convinced Allen the NHL in Portland would be a positive move.
“I never got the sense that Paul wasn’t interested in the NHL,” McGowan says. “Paul has always been interested in things that are good for Portland and the arena. It’s our job to bring opportunities to Paul. The NHL is just one of those. Our analysis led us to believe that potentially a team could work here. We were in the mix when it related to Portland as a potential option, but it didn’t work out, so it becomes moot.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has since said that the league is “very intrigued by the Pacific Northwest” and “to the extent expansion comes into the picture or relocation is needed, I’m sure the Pacific Northwest is going to get serious consideration.”
While it’s been Seattle that’s received the most attention so far as Pacific Northwest cities and NHL expansion/relocation are concerned, you have to think the league would love to add an owner with pockets as deep as Allen’s.
According to Forbes, the Microsoft co-founder is No. 53 on the list of billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $15 billion.