Unlike Boston and New York, the list of championships brought back to the city of Seattle is a short one: the Metropolitans’ Stanley Cup win in 1917, the Supersonics’ NBA title in 1979 and the Seahawks’ blowout win in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Had the Kevin Durant-led Sonics remained in Seattle, and had not been stolen from the fervent fan base who supported it, that list may be longer.
This off-season, free agent second baseman Robinson Cano turned down an offer from the New York Yankees in favor of a deal with the Seattle Mariners, a franchise that has failed to make the playoffs every year since 2001. So why did Cano decide to join the Nintendo-owned club? Has he yet to receive his Starbucks Gold Card?
The short answer: money. The Mariners will vastly overpay Cano in the first few years of his contract. Regardless, the signing got people talking about Seattle as a destination again, even if the talk was, “Why Seattle?”
On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks, consistently the most dominant team in the National Football League throughout the regular season, capped off their campaign with a blowout win in the Super Bowl over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Suddenly the talk switched from “Why Seattle?” to “Why not?”
“The Seahawks put Seattle on the map as a major sports town,” said John Barre, a blogger who chronicles Seattle’s push for NHL expansion. “The Sounders have also done amazing. This city is very supportive of their sports teams.”
This summer, we spoke with Barr on the plausibility of hockey’s return to Seattle, and the prospects look promising.
“Seattle is the twelfth biggest TV market in the United States and is very close to Vancouver to form a natural rivalry,” Barr told us in July. “Several Fortune 500 companies are located here so the corporate ecosystem exists, and Seattle is a top five city with the highest average household income compared.”
“Although we don’t have the same youth and adult hockey communities that exist in the Michigan, Minnesota or Massachusetts, Seattle is home of one biggest adult hockey leagues in the country,” said Barr.
Attendance at the Seahawks’ parade was estimated at one million fans. Seattle-based act Macklemore & Ryan Lewis cleaned up at this year’s Grammy Awards. Now more than ever, Seattle’s in.
When the NHL realigned its divisions prior to the 2013-14 season, its two conferences were left lopsided — according to some, deliberately so. With 14 teams in the Western Conference and 16 in the east, some argue there is room for teams in frontrunners Seattle and Quebec City. Assuming the Board of Governors approves expansion in the Pacific Northwest, who will the league award a team?
With any luck at all, not Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Prior to the City of Glendale’s vote to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in town for an additional five years, Allen was interested in relocating the franchise to Portland, OR., according to a report by the Portland Tribune. After all, Portland already boasts a hockey-ready arena in the Rose Garden, unlike Seattle. And nevermind that in addition to the Seahawks, Allen’s portfolio includes the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA and the Seattle Sounders of the MLS.
Since the Tribune‘s report, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has said the league is “very intrigued by the Pacific Northwest” and “to the extent expansion comes into the picture or relocation is needed, I’m sure the Pacific Northwest is going to get serious consideration.”
If one lesson can be gleaned from the jubilant, strikingly polite masses in the streets after the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win, and the sustained, years-long outrage at the loss of the Sonics, it’s that Seattle is as ready as ever for hockey.