There’s still a long ways to go before a new arena gets built in Seattle.
Currently, it’s not even clear who will build it, where in the city it will be located, or if, indeed, it will get built.
With that in mind, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had something to say yesterday on SiriusXM NHL radio.
“We haven’t made any commitments to Seattle,” said Bettman. “In fact, I’ve been telling everyone in the process that they should build their building with an understanding that there may not be an NHL team there.
“We’re not making any commitments to expand. We’re not planning on moving anybody. And to the extent people are winking and nodding that they’re getting a team, they’re really getting ahead of themselves.”
Per the Seattle Times, Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke said it would take no more than “three or four years’’ to complete the renovation of KeyArena for NBA and NHL use. But the city can’t vote on that project until December.
Meanwhile, investor Chris Hansen is still holding out hope for his SoDo arena project.
So for now, hockey fans in Seattle will just have to wait for the process to play out. The city might get a team one day soon, or it might not.
“I know people say, ‘Well, you’ve got 15 teams in the west and 16 teams in the east, and obviously you need a team (in the west),'” said Bettman. “Well, we’re not going to expand if we do for purposes of symmetry. If they sort out the building arrangement and somebody actually puts a shovel in the ground, my guess is there’ll be people knocking on our door saying, ‘You know what, we’d like to have a team to play in that building.’
“If and when all that happens, then we’ll focus on it and decide, A, if we have any interesting in expanding, and, B, whether or not we have any interest in expanding to Seattle. Beyond that, there’s no reason for anybody to think that a team is imminent in Seattle.”