NBA fans both support and fear Seattle’s movement to replace the Supersonics. Nobody (outside of Oklahoma City… and even they have their misgivings I would think) liked the way the Sonics departed Seattle. And every fan fears the realization that their team could move in an instant like Seattle’s did.
Yet, there is a twing of support. A kindred brothership among fans that recognizes no community should have a beloved team ripped away from them. Every story that offers a glimmer of hope to the fans of Seattle and to those Sonics fans is met with support and hope that a fan base can be revitalized.
There are rumors that organizers in Seattle are trying to get a new stadium near the city. Until that happens, no team is coming to Seattle. Not even the NHL.
If you did not know, the NHL owns the Phoenix Coyotes in the same way the NBA owns the Hornets. Except, Phoenix is a mismatched location for hockey. The team is losing millions of dollars and represents one of the failures of the NHL’s 1990s expansion into the Sun Belt. The NHL is looking to find a buyer for the Coyotes and there is a group from Seattle hoping to bring a professional hockey franchise to Seattle.
There are people in the city very interested in trying to fill those empty dates at Key Arena or spur the construction of a new building — the ultimate goal likely being to bring in an NBA franchise again and restore the Supersonics.
There are lots of cities that always bid for these professional sports franchises. It is a heated competition and every advantage matters. Seattle has a few strikes against it considering the arena issue and the fact Seattle is not quite a hockey-hungry market. However, the NHL has flirted with Seattle multiple times and the Seattle Metropolitans won the 1917 Stanley Cup. Moving a team to the Pacific Northwest, even one so near the Vancouver Canuck, has its attractions.
Right now, the stadium is the obstacle as it was when the NBA moved away. NHL officials are worried that there would be too many obstructed seats in Key Arena, which was built for basketball. That was a problem with the Coyotes when they played at U.S. Airways Center in downtown Phoenix. They have since moved to a Glendale, Ariz. stadium.
Yes, the arena is still the problem for Seattle. Until that is fixed, Sonics fans and indoor sports fans in Seattle will not have a professional basketball franchise or hockey franchise playing in Key Arena.
Organizers in Seattle will continue to try and push for a new stadium, knowing that is the key to the future of professional sports in Seattle.