Columnist: ‘NHL to Portland is a no-brainer’

32 Comments

The Arizona Coyotes’ latest spat with the City of Glendale was the catalyst for one newspaper columnist from Portland, Oregon, to make the case for an NHL team in the Rose City.

From John Canzano of the Oregonian:

We’re too big a market to have only an NBA and MLS team. We’re too hockey-ready to not seize the opportunity.

NHL to Portland is a no-brainer. It would work here. In fact, we’d be a better hockey town than basketball town. Long ago the prevailing fear from inside the Blazers organization was that an NHL team might cannibalize the NBA franchise’s fan base. Also, that Allen just wasn’t a hockey fan. So if we’re asking ourselves today, “What’s changed?” take a look at the guy sitting in the president’s office at One Center Court.

The Allen to which Canzano is referring is, of course, billionaire Paul Allen, who also owns the NBA’s Trail Blazers.

In October, Allen told the Oregonian that bringing the NHL to Portland is something that he looks at “from time to time.”

Allen may, in fact, have looked pretty seriously at bringing the Coyotes to Portland in 2013.

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.”

So far much of the speculation has focused on Seattle. But what Portland already has that Seattle still doesn’t is an NHL-ready arena. The Moda Center, which first opened in 1995, is owned by Allen, who may or may not have any interest in actually owning a hockey team, but perhaps wouldn’t mind another tenant for his building.

Canzano concludes, rather optimistically:

The gag order is currently in full effect in the Blazers organization. Nobody is talking hockey because when you’re interested in making that buy you don’t hold those conversations publicly.

That silence sounds sweet.

Related: Add another city to the Coyotes relocation rumormill — Portland, Oregon