Seattle had a Hockey team.
Did you know that the first American team to ever win the Stanley Cup was based right here in Seattle? The year was 1917, and the Seattle Metropolitans defeated the defending champion Montreal Canadiens (Canadians in English). A time traveler from back then might be more than a little disappointed to learn that the Canadiens managed to thrive, yet the Metropolitans went the way of the dinosaurs.
The Metropolitans were a strong team with an impressive record and a reputation for winning. The team made it to the Stanley Cup three times. Their combined record was 112-96-2. At home, they were 73-30.
We have what it takes.
If the Metropolitans had managed to survive, they would be like a PR firm for the city. I am sure they could sell out your average NHL arena today. They were that good. According to Nielsen Scarborough, the market research firm, there are over 70,000 people interested in NHL season tickets in our immediate area. That is more than what commissioner Gary Bettman was expecting. The ball is on the one-yard line. Our Emerald City is about to get a new team. I can feel it.
Consider the following factors:
• The city has secured a developer, the Oak View Group, to refurbish Key Arena for $600 million.
• Billionaire David Bonderman is known to be heading a group of partners with deep-pockets who will be laying out the $650 million NHL franchise fee.
• The NHL gave the Las Vegas expansion team the okay when they reach 15,000 test market sales.
You can never be sure about the future. However, our town becoming the next NHL city is making more and more sense every day. We are a great sports town as it is. No fans in the country are quite as impactfully enthusiastic as we are. Would the NHL grant a franchise to Houston or Quebec City before us? They could, but I dare say it would be illogical to do so.
What’s in a Name?
My gut feeling, based on everything I have mentioned so far, is that the NHL wants to be here and that Puget Sound will embrace a new NHL team if we are the league’s next expansion market. Smart money is forecasting the impending arrival of an NHL team by the 2020-2021 hockey season. In this process, things happen quickly. Here is what we can expect once the league grants us a franchise:
• There will be an official team naming contest.
• We will choose our team colors and design a uniform.
• There will be an expansion draft.
I believe the revival of the Metropolitans team name could be good luck. However, here are some other possibilities:
• Sea Lions
There are thirty-one teams in the NHL. In my opinion, a team’s name should relate in some way to the unique character of the city or region where the team plays. The thirty-second franchise should have a name that makes you think about us as soon as you hear it. Just don’t call them the SuperSonics.