You may recall back in July of 2013 when the then-Phoenix Coyotes (now Arizona Coyotes) had reportedly been close to moving to Portland, Oregon. Obviously, that didn’t happen. But we probably shouldn’t leave the Pacific Northwest city out of any expansion or relocation talk. Portland is just as deserving as Seattle, Las Vegas, or Quebec City to be included in our rampant speculation.
The biggest factor in Portland’s favor? Unlike Seattle, it already has an NHL-ready arena in the Moda Center, a building that’s owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who also owns the building’s main tenant, the NBA’s Trail Blazers.
On Tuesday, Allen was asked about the chances of an NHL team coming to Portland in the next five years.
“It’s something we look at from time to time,” he said, per The Oregonian. “Obviously we’d probably need to have a strong partner in terms of the ownership of the team and those things and the financial picture would have to all pencil out. There are a number of hurdles to get over and the price of NHL teams keeps accelerating. It’s something we look at but there’s certainly nothing imminent at this point.”
Based on that statement, it doesn’t sound like Allen would want to be the owner of an NHL team in Portland. Instead, he’d prefer to partner with an investor and have the hockey club as a tenant. (Like prospective NBA owner Chris Hansen wants in Seattle.)
That said, Allen could probably find the money if he were to get what he perceived as a good deal on a team. (He has quite a bit of money.) And wouldn’t the NHL love to have an owner like Allen, who also owns the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders.
The NHL, by the way, is working hard to paint the most recent Coyotes ownership news (the report that the Coyotes may have a new majority owner in Andrew Barroway) in a positive light.
“Nobody is considering relocation,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Arizona Republic.
But the NHL hasn’t been shy to say that the Pacific Northwest — an area that includes both Portland and Seattle — would get “serious consideration” if “expansion comes into the picture or relocation is needed.”
Related: Add another city to the Coyotes relocation rumormill — Portland, Oregon