Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has acknowledged recent discussions with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
In a statement, McGinn said about two weeks ago a representative of Chris Hansen introduced him to potential investors in an NHL team, who also met with a number of Seattle City Council members.
And McGinn said last week he spoke with NHL Commissioner Bettman.
Our message to all parties has been the same: We believe we can support an NHL team as a tenant at KeyArena, and as a potential tenant of a new arena, subject to all parties reaching agreement on terms, McGinn said.
McGinn went on to say As recent news reports indicate, it appears the NHL is taking the new ownership proposal seriously. But we also know from experience that it may be some time before an NHL team is located in Seattle, as the home city for the Phoenix Coyotes is working to keep them. We will keep the public informed as we learn more about the possibility of the NHL in Seattle.
NHLDeputy Commissioner Bill Daly would not characterize the discussions between McGinn and Bettman, and told KING5 the conversation was like any number of conversations the Commissioner has all the time with a variety of people.
The NHLowns the Phoenix Coyotes, and has a prospective buyer, but has given the city of Glendale,Arizona until June 25th to work out a new lease arrangement. Bettman has said it is possible, that if no deal is reached, the team could relocate.
A source says Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza would be the lead investors in the purchase of the Coyotes, and the team would play at Key Arena for at least two years.A Seattle Center spokesperson said last week the Arena still had its icemaking and chilling equipment operational. The Arena would seat 11,000 for hockey.
Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess said Sunday he met with Lanza and Bartoszek a couple of weeks ago in Seattle. He said the duo was optimistic and positive about Seattle. Burgess also said he believed a tentative deal had been reached on a lease agreement so an NHLteam could play at the Key this fall. Burgess said oft-mentioned Chicago investor Don Levin was not a part of the delegation which met with city leaders.
Investor Chris Hansen has indicated, in a previous interview with KING5, that he would be open to starting construction of a new arena with an NHLteam as the first tenant. Hansen unsuccessfully tried to acquire the Sacramento Kings franchise last month. The Memorandum of Understanding calls for an NBAfranchise to be acquired before public funds can be used to break ground on a new arena.A source close to the situation said Sunday it is unclear if the MOUwould need to be amended to start construction with an NHLteam first.