Posted on February 23, 2012 at 5:58 PM
Thursday, Feb 23 at 11:41 PM
SEATTLE -- Seattle's hockey history dates back to 1915 when the Metropolitans called Seattle home, but the Pacific Coast Hockey Association folded in 1924.
"Seattle's hockey history can be summed up in one trivia question: What was the first American team to win the Stanley Cup and that was the Seattle Metropolitans in 1917," said Jeff Obermeyer.
Obermeyer is the author of hockey in Seattle and the creator of Seattlehockey.net. Obermeyer has documented all of the teams that have dropped the puck in the Emerald City. The most popular and successful one was the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League winners of three Lester Patrick Cups between 1959 and 1967. But how would a NHL team fare in Seattle?
While the infatuation with a new team may sustain its success at the start. Obermeyer worries a couple of losing seasons could spell disaster for a NHL team.
"What happens the first time things start to slip on the ice?" said Obermeyer. "There are a lot of people that would be very excited, but NHL tickets are not cheap and NHL makes a lot of revenue off of ticket sales compared to other leagues. They don't have a big TV deal, so they're going to have to fill that building to capacity every night to make a go of it."
Even the biggest hockey fans in Western Washington share the same concerns. Thunderbirds fan Erica Kiesler would love to see the NHL in Seattle, but she won't break her bank to go see it.
"For me... I can afford this. I'll probably go to a couple of games, but I won't be able to afford season tickets like I would here," said Kiesler.
But the economic climate has changed in Seattle where the NHL won't have to rely on individual season ticket holder unlike the minor league teams in the 60's.
They will have to compete with franchises like the Mariners, Seahawks and especially a NBA team who's schedule mirros the NHL. Keep in mind though, Seattle is a city that has changed.
With the diverse corporate industry and the growing population, fans believe the NHL in Seattle will work. Just ask this couple from Mukilteo who travel north of the border just to get a taste of the professional hockey.
"I think it's a great thing. I know Vancouver will love to see it. We follow Vancouver and it would be great to see the rivalry. The Northwest will really benefit," said Jeffrey Heald.
But every hockey fan knows until Seattle builds an arena the dream of having a NHL team is just that--a dream.
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