You may not be familiar with Don Levin, but he very nearly became the owner of the Montreal Canadiens. Instead, he’s the owner of the AHL Chicago Wolves but not giving up hope on joining the NHL owners fraternity.
Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune spoke with Levin (sign-up required) who talked about his dream of not just owning an NHL team, but having one in the Pacific Northwest.
“Seattle would be a great market for hockey, but right now there is no building — it’s years away,” Levin said. “(But) if there was something that came available I might try to buy that.”
The new building isn’t a problem in Seattle as they’ll reportedly have one by 2015. A team, however, is still the issue.
Levin says he’s comfortable with the current market and would love to buy a team and have them in a hockey-hungry market. If that means expansion becomes a viable option in the future, he’s willing to get involved there, too.
Considering he fell $60 million short of trying to buy the Canadiens, he’s got the cash to make it happen. It’s too bad there’s no hockey being played or a franchise ready to be picked off for a nice price at the moment.
(Photo: Chicago Tribune video)
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
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Speaking of the Wings, they apparently owe the City of Detroit a lot of money. That new arena project looks a lot shadier now, doesn’t it? (Detroit News via Kukla’s Korner)
The owner of the AHL Chicago Wolves wants to set his sights on an NHL team. Hello, Seattle? (Chicago Tribune – subscription req)
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Today marks Day 102 of the NHL lockout. 16 players in NHL history have had 102-point seasons. Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis was the last to do it in the 2006-07 season.
The city of Seattle received some solid public relations on Thursday in the form of AHL Chicago owner Don Levin.
Levin told the Seattle Times the city is the best U.S. market without a team at the moment and, in an effort to bring the NHL to the Emerald City, he’s prepared to invest $100 million.
“It’s probably the best market in the United States that does not have a hockey team demographically,” Levin told The Times. “I imagine there’d be thousands of Canadians that would come to every game because they can’t get into the building in Vancouver because it’s sold out and it’s such a good team.
“That would give them an opportunity to come to the city for a weekend to see hockey.”
The Canucks have sold out 407 consecutive sellouts games at Rogers Arena. The sellout streak began on November 14, 2002 and includes 361 regular season games and 46 post-season games.
As for location — Levin’s idea is for the proposed arena to be housed in Bellevue, a nearby suburb of Seattle. Bellevue City Manager Steve Sarkozy confirmed he has had discussions with “a couple” of potential team owners, including Levin.
“Easy to get in and get out,” Levin said. “I think the city [Bellevue] has a good base of restaurants and hotels, so the teams could stay there and the fans could stay there. You’d be bringing in a lot of people to spend a lot of money.”
Related: Report: Wayne Gretzky discusses bringing NHL to Seattle area
David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail reports that Don Levin — owner of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves — has expressed interest in an NHL franchise for Seattle.
Levin told Shoalts that if hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen is successful in building an arena in Seattle and bringing back an NBA team, he’d be willing to get involved on the NHL front.
“If he’s successful, I’d be very happy to be involved,” Levin said. “I told [Hansen] if he has something put together I would be interested.”
Levin is the founder of D.R.L. Enterprises, a Chicago-based company that dabbles in a variety of fields including aircraft and medical equipment leasing, sports products, tobacco processing and motion picture production. Levin told Shoalts he’s had past conversations with NHL commissioner about owning an NHL team, though never in Seattle specifically.
In an email to The Globe, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed these talks.
“We have had conversations with Don Levin over the period of the last several years about his potential interest in owning an NHL franchise,” Daly said. “None of those discussions occurred recently and none have involved the Phoenix Coyotes.”
The Coyotes are the team most often linked with potential NHL relocation given their lack of ownership and issues with the city of Glendale.
It should be noted Levin isn’t the only potential owner in the mix. He said there may be another interested party located in Bellevue, Wash., that may be putting together a competing arena proposal in Seattle, though Levin declined to identify the person (or persons) involved.