SEATTLE -- Victor Coleman classifies himself as a Northwest Native.
He grew up at 41st and Granville and would walk down the street to Sir William Osler Elementary, next to Montgomery Park.
Those formative years, on the West Side of Vancouver is when he fell in love with the country s national pastime.
I remember the day we got the Canucks, he said by phone. I remember the day they played their first game.
He d later attend Magee Secondary school, and as he grew, so did his appreciation for the sport.
Now 52 and as the head of a publicly traded company, he wants to own a team, but not in his hometown.
I think the demographic base (in Seattle) and the desire of the NHL in that marketplace is the perfect match right now. The expansion of the NHL into the Pacific Northwest, with Vancouver and the presiding area, makes it a perfect fit, said Coleman. There are built in synergies. That s a Day 1 rivalry.
The CEO and president of LA-based Hudson Pacific Properties has had extensive business dealings on the West Coast. His company touts a portfolio of over eight million square feet in property across California and in Seattle. The company recently closed two deals on buildings in Seattle s Pioneer Square for $281 million.
That s an investment in the City of Seattle through (Hudson), which is completely separate than trying to get the NHL to the City of Seattle, said Coleman.
It s clear Coleman has the support of the NHL. One league executive describes him as the real deal, and he was flanked by the NHL s top leaders during a clandestine meeting in Seattle back in May.
Coleman and co-investor Jonathan Glaser, who sits on the board of Hudson Pacific, met face to face with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine in separate meetings in Seattle. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly were also on hand. The parties all left without an agreement or plan to move forward. Coleman says he feels like he s made progress since.
We have a clear path, he said.
Part of that path runs through Chris Hansen, who successfully negotiated a deal with the city and county in 2012 to build a new NBA and NHL complex, pending an environmental review. Hansen has long said he is only interested in owning an NBA franchise, and the deal calls for public financing to be released and construction to begin only after the review and after Hansen acquires an NBA team.
Steve Ballmer, who successfully purchased the Clippers franchise on Tuesday, is a still an investor in the SoDo land, which Hansen has targeted for a complex.
Two sources with knowledge of the talks between Hansen and Coleman say that the two potential owners met in person a couple of weeks ago, and have been actively talking for months. In fact, according to the sources, the two potential ownership groups have signed a non-binding agreement which lays out the terms for Coleman s contribution to the project and his potential revenue streams for a hockey franchise. Two other hockey ownership groups - one led by Don Levin, the other by Ray Bartoszek - have not laid out similar groundwork, per the sources.
The location Chris has established is the right location, and we re excited to be a part of that, said Coleman. That s the best location we see, surrounding the transportation needs and the growth in Pioneer Square.
It may be tougher to get the councils to adjust the MOU to allow for Hockey first. No elected leader has indicated it is even up for discussion.
There is obviously a deal in place that can get done, said Coleman. The semantics by which it gets done, and the priorities by which it gets done, are going to depend on city officials, the county, and the Hansen group.
Until then, Coleman says he ll keep playing the sport he learned as a kid on the streets of Vancouver, in his adult men s league, down in Los Angeles.