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Proposed arena could bring NHL to the Emerald City

Last Updated Sep 12, 2017 at 10:14 pm PDT

Seattle city skyline with Mt Rainier at sunset with urban office buildings viewed from Kerry Park. (iStock)

The +$600 million privately funded plan for an arena was unveiled by the Oak View Group on Tuesday

A large arena has the potential to attract both the NHL and NBA, though Rintoul doesn't think the later is likely

Bringing the NHL to Seattle would mean the Vancouver Canucks could have a geographical rival for the first time: Rintoul

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A proposed multi-million dollar arena in Seattle is opening up the possibility of bringing the NHL to the Emerald City.

If that happens, the Vancouver Canucks would have a geographical rival for the first time, according to Scott Rintoul with Sportsnet 650.

“You would have instant rivalry. And I think especially early in that happening, you would see a lot of fans travel between the two cities to see if they can catch their team on the road in a different arena,” explains Rintoul, co-host of The Program.

He explains real rivalries are forged in the playoffs, but adds having a team so close will prove to be just as exciting.

Rintoul says the Emerald City is one that supports its local teams very well (think Sounders and Seahawks), and believes the NHL wants to go there for a few reasons.

“I think they need another team in the Western Conference, they’ve earmarked Seattle, it’s wealthy city… and again, that natural geographical rival, I think it’s very realistic,” he explains.

“If the building gets done by 2020, the chances of an NBA team getting in there first seem very slim based on the climate in the NBA right now. You get an NHL team in there, they’ve got a tenant, and that’s very good news for an arena that needs to have someone paying the bills.”

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Having a team so nearby could prove to be an advantage, especially to those living by the border.

Rintoul says with it being a quick drive down the I-5, some people living north of the border may potentially even consider investing in seasons tickets for a Seattle-based team.

“Go down for the weekend, catch a game, maybe two.”As for tickets, he believes prices would most likely be cheaper mainly because they’re selling to a market that is not too familiar with hockey.

“Canucks tickets in general have been expensive for most people in the lower mainland in recent years so I do believe you’d have cheaper tickets at least from the get-go down in Seattle.”

The Oak View Group, led by former Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Tim Leiweke, announced it had a formal agreement with Seattle’s mayor on Tuesday.

The agreement –if passed by city council– would see a $660 million arena built in the Seattle Centre area, where KeyArena stands.

With plans to start construction next year, the hope is to have it built by 2020.