Email from reader Mike:
What if Peter Lukko is going to be the owner of an NHL expansion team in Seattle?
Mind-blown. This is absolutely my favorite nefarious Peter Luukko theory (besides the more likely one that he was pushed out by Comcast in an effort to Comcast-ize Comcast-Spectacor).
While the short list of potential destinations still generates debate, Seattle’s arena project has been viewed as one of the more likely candidates to land an NHL franchise. In fact, commissioner Gary Bettman reportedly recommended that the league’s board of governors make a franchise available to the Seattle market.
With all of that in mind, Chris Daniels of King 5 News in Seattle is reporting that former NHL star Jeremy Roenick was in Seattle on Monday participating in a meeting with the arena project’s primary figure head, Chris Hansen, and an investment group to discuss the potential of an expansion franchise in The Emerald City. Daniels cites a source who was in the meeting who states that Roenick wants to be the “front man” for the expansion team. This isn’t the first account of Roenick’s interest in the Seattle market, as he was reportedly going to be involved in the relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise if their ownership situation remained unresolved.
Hansen is leading the charge to build a basketball arena in Seattle, but now, it seems like hockey may be in the plans as well.
The man who has become the face of the Seattle Arena project, says despite the setbacks, he continues to move forward with it.
“We’re as resolute as ever. I think Seattle is a great market. Our job is to finish the environmental process and get the Arena shovel ready, and we’re very close to that. There are not many hurdles left,” he says, claiming the reviews will be done by summer 2014.
Hansen was in Seattle for the Thanksgiving holiday and appeared at a special event on the Eastside. He says he’s had meetings, including visiting with Seattle’s Mayor-Elect Ed Murray.
“I haven’t had a chance to meet with the new council member (Sawant). I have had a chance to meet with Murray, and we look forward to working with him, he seems like a reasonable person,” said Hansen.
Hansen is coy about whether the project could start with an NHL team first. The Memorandum of Understanding only provides public financing if an NBA team is acquired.
The prospects for the NHL are better than the NBA at this point.
However, a source who was in the meeting, says NHL legend Jeremy Roenick was in Seattle on Monday, along with an investment team, to discuss an expansion franchise and working with Hansen. It is believed Roenick wants to be the “front man” for the NHL franchise. He made an attempt to be part of a group to bring the Phoenix Coyotes to Seattle earlier this year.
The NHL would need to award an expansion franchise to a well heeled group, likely based on another conditional agreement to be a partner with Hansen in a new building. It’s unclear how quickly that could all come together, or what it would mean for construction on the project.
Now… who’s someone that has vast experience in managing arena operations, specifically as they relate to hockey and basketball, and who was “responsible for creating new business opportunities in the fields of facility management, sports ownership and operation, food and concessions, as well as consulting in those same fields“?
Perhaps the guy on the left.
The fact that Roenick and Hansen were in Seattle this weekend campaigning for an arena and a hockey team, and then Luukko resigned the first weekday after, is a really fun coincidence.
I love conspiracy theories, and Peter Luukko leaving Comcast and teaming up with Jeremy Roenick to help build an arena and bring a franchise to Seattle is my new favorite. I mean, it’s totally possible he was pushed out, however gently, and the abruptness of his departure was brought on, at least in part, by another (perfect) opportunity on the horizon.