A group of investors trying to bring a NHL team to Seattle just received a large endorsement from one of the city's top athletes: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson’s name became widely known in Seattle when he and the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2014. He brings a face and name power to the group of investors he joined on Monday.
"We couldn't be more thrilled that Russell is joining our partnership and continued efforts to bring the NBA and NHL back to Seattle," lead investor Chris Hansen said.
The plan is to build a new arena that can become home to both a NHL and NBA team. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers are all teams that already share NHL and NBA teams.
Plans to build the new arena were spurred by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who said “We’re not paying a lot of attention to Seattle,” and added, “if they ever put a shovel in the ground and actually build a building instead of just talking about one, we might pay attention.”
So last month, Hansen took action. He and a group of investors came forward with their intention of privately financing the new arena with no expectation of city money. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said he plans on making a decision in early spring on whether the city will allow Hansen to start construction or focus elsewhere, such as renovating the former home of the Seattle SuperSonics.
On a personal note, it was abundantly evident during a trip I took to Seattle this summer that the people want hockey. Seattle hadn’t filed the necessary paperwork for the NHL’s expansion call this time around, but hockey was still on the people’s minds.
From business owners, to restaurant staff, to my Lyft drivers, it's clear that Seattleites want hockey, and they're ready to put cash on the line to get it.