NHL Heading to Seattle???

 If the Mayor of the City Seattle gets his wish, the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders and Supersonics may have some more competition for the citizens’ sports dollar.

You could throw the Thunderbirds in there, too. And the Everett Silvertips.

Seattle is currently in the process of putting together a bid for an NHL team.

The folks at the hockey league, they're excited about Seattle," Seattle mayor Ed Murray told ESPN.com. "They're excited about getting a team here. They are very curious about how things are going to develop with the arena plans."

Lately, the plans for an arena are getting more crowded. During a recent Vancouver radio interview, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned that groups in nearby Bellevue and Tukwila are interested in bringing the NHL to Seattle. Whether he meant to cause a stir or not, he did.

It has provided a flicker of hope that there is a new way to bring the NHL to the area.

"All we're doing is listening," Bettman told ESPN.com. "As things stand right now, there's no building (arena). I don't know what speed the groups are moving at. We're just listening to expressions of interest. People from three different places in greater Seattle are saying 'we're interested and we think we can get a building,' but nobody has a building."

The arena issue appears to be the number-one issue, says Murray.

The secondary issue could be the fan support the team would receive.

It would be a very interesting location for pro hockey with the NFL club having won a championship recently, and the baseball club challenging for a wild-card spot this past season. Makes you wonder how the NHL may do.

As it sits right now, none of the current arenas in the area could legally open up to be home to an NHL team.

If the NHL ultimately agrees, it may have to wait to make it happen. It's not realistic to expect anything to happen within the next couple of years, and that’s an optimistic opinion.

Factor in lawsuit delays and construction, and an optimistic timetable for the opening of an arena might be 2019 at the earliest.

The city would love to house an NHL expansion team in KeyArena before then, but according to multiple sources, the NHL hasn't shown an appetite to go that route.

There is a potential of a New York businessman who had planned to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes and liked the idea of moving them to Washington State.

In the next few weeks, he hopes to have a timeline laid out, with each step the city is taking articulated, so those following have a better understanding of where things stand.

Should the actual City of Seattle prove to be a bad destination for the NHL (and it could take a possible 3-4 years to realize that), there are 3 more areas within a 10-mile radius of Seattle that supposedly provide benefits that Seattle doesn’t.

They are:
-Tukwila, Washington –located about 10 miles south of the downtown
                                                -population of only 19,7000, however that number goes up to about 170,000 during the day as visitors come to town to work or shop.
                                                -land prices are cheap, which will come in handy if the arena gets built.
-Bellevue, Washington -               there is a proposal to build a light rail that would transport people through Bellevue.
                                                -the downtown core is growing and is apparently full of young technology professionals
                                                -the Seattle Times reports that a potential arena site is targeted near the future Sound Transit Station.


Fun fact: the City of Seattle is reportedly the first American team to capture the Stanley Cup, in 1917.