Prospective Seattle NHL owner was willing to explore KeyArena option: report

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Victor Coleman is a rich guy who wants to own an NHL team in Seattle.

His problem? An arena to put the team.

To solve that problem, Coleman originally partnered with Chris Hansen, a hedge fund manager who wants to own an NBA team in Seattle. Hansen struck a deal with the city and county to get $200 million in public financing to build an arena in the Sodo District; however, it was dependent on him landing an NBA team. That deal doesn’t expire until November of 2017, almost two years from now. The city recently pledged to honor the deal and says it won’t entertain any other arena options until it expires, even though the chances of Hansen landing an NBA team before then seem slim.

For hockey fans in Seattle, that’s gotta be frustrating to have things tied up like that. Because guess what? It turns out that a renovated KeyArena might, despite what was previously assumed, be suitable for an NHL team. And based on an email that Coleman’s representative, Jeff Marks, wrote to the city on August 24, Coleman was willing to explore that option.

“Our team wanted to follow up now that summer is behind us and our team is looking forward to hearing any updates around the Key Arena site,” Marks wrote, according to King 5 News. “We had a good call with Bob at AEG and we are ready to move forward with this option, if viable.”

We’ll assume that “Bob at AEG” is Bob Newman, President, AEG Facilities. Since 2008, after the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City, AEG Facilities has been helping market KeyArena.

Meanwhile, the NHL has been kicking the can down the road with regards to expansion bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City.

Some have wondered if the league has been stalling to see if Seattle can come up with a solution.

From King 5:

Marks says Coleman is still interested in working out a deal in Seattle, preferably with Hansen, “beyond our previous non-binding agreement.”

The NHL Board of Governors meets next week in Pebble Beach.

Related: Pacific Northwest will ‘get serious consideration’ for expansion or relocation