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Metro Seattle: NHL, NBA and Arena - Part V

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11-14-2012, 01:32 AM
  #626
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It'll be interesting to see how well MLS holds up once the NBA returns. And possibly even the NHL, too. MLS has done well in a short period of time in Seattle. But people only have so much time, money, and attention to devote to sports.
Summer sport vs winter sport. The Sounders would be fine.

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11-14-2012, 11:34 AM
  #627
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Summer sport vs winter sport. The Sounders would be fine.
Another sport to take a chunk of the entertainment dollar, however

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11-14-2012, 01:00 PM
  #628
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Another sport to take a chunk of the entertainment dollar, however
Of which, I can assure you as a former Tacoma resident who is familiar with the people and the sports scene of Seattle, there is plenty. People who are concerned about entertainment dollars being divided among one or two extra teams should the NHL and/or NBA come to town are forgetting the other side of this issue. There are copious amounts of entertainment dollars that aren't being spent--be it from Sounders/Mariners/etc. fans who also like the NBA/NHL, or people who would only follow the NBA/NHL and therefore don't have anything to spend their sports entertainment dollars on--simply because there aren't enough options for certain people.

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11-14-2012, 01:11 PM
  #629
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I spent last weekend in Seattle - even took in the Seahawks game while I was there. Seeing the passion for the NFL, NCAA, Sounders, Mariners and the return of the NBA I again see that Seattle is a GREAT sports city.

I also saw virtually nobody who cares at all about hockey - except for a few visiting Canadians.

Seattle loves sports but hockey will never fly. NHL would be about #6 or 7 on the sports totem pole in Seattle and there is no way to be profitable in that reality.

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11-14-2012, 01:17 PM
  #630
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
I spent last weekend in Seattle - even took in the Seahawks game while I was there. Seeing the passion for the NFL, NCAA, Sounders, Mariners and the return of the NBA I again see that Seattle is a GREAT sports city.

I also saw virtually nobody who cares at all about hockey - except for a few visiting Canadians.

Seattle loves sports but hockey will never fly. NHL would be about #6 or 7 on the sports totem pole in Seattle and there is no way to be profitable in that reality.
Too bad the Thunderbirds were on a road swing because if they had been at home this past weekend you could have taken in a game and would have seen support for hockey.

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11-14-2012, 03:30 PM
  #631
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I spent last weekend in Seattle - even took in the Seahawks game while I was there. Seeing the passion for the NFL, NCAA, Sounders, Mariners and the return of the NBA I again see that Seattle is a GREAT sports city.

I also saw virtually nobody who cares at all about hockey - except for a few visiting Canadians.

Seattle loves sports but hockey will never fly. NHL would be about #6 or 7 on the sports totem pole in Seattle and there is no way to be profitable in that reality.
The lockout probably plays some sort of factor. It would be interesting to see how hockey is currently ranking on the sports scene in current American NHL markets (both traditional & non-traditional). My guess is there is a lot of "out of sight, out of mind" that's going on.

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11-14-2012, 05:54 PM
  #632
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
I spent last weekend in Seattle - even took in the Seahawks game while I was there. Seeing the passion for the NFL, NCAA, Sounders, Mariners and the return of the NBA I again see that Seattle is a GREAT sports city.

I also saw virtually nobody who cares at all about hockey - except for a few visiting Canadians.

Seattle loves sports but hockey will never fly. NHL would be about #6 or 7 on the sports totem pole in Seattle and there is no way to be profitable in that reality.
It's funny that the two of us did the exact same thing and got drastically different results. What's even more funny is that I was there to go to basketball events and had most of my conversations at basketball games. Where you'd expect Pro-Sonics, anti-hockey.

It seems that Sports fans = sports fans (NBA, NHL, you name it)
General Public = wider array of opinions (less NHL popularity).

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11-14-2012, 06:22 PM
  #633
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I also saw virtually nobody who cares at all about hockey - except for a few visiting Canadians.

The Thunderbirds and Silvertips combined average attendance is usually around 7-8,000, which isn't bad for a junior league operating in a major league city.

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11-14-2012, 07:35 PM
  #634
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
I spent last weekend in Seattle - even took in the Seahawks game while I was there. Seeing the passion for the NFL, NCAA, Sounders, Mariners and the return of the NBA I again see that Seattle is a GREAT sports city.

I also saw virtually nobody who cares at all about hockey - except for a few visiting Canadians.

Seattle loves sports but hockey will never fly. NHL would be about #6 or 7 on the sports totem pole in Seattle and there is no way to be profitable in that reality.
You could tell all this from one weekend? What makes you say that hockey will never fly? Didn't see enough Seattle Metropolitans jerseys around?

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11-15-2012, 12:50 PM
  #635
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You could tell all this from one weekend? What makes you say that hockey will never fly? Didn't see enough Seattle Metropolitans jerseys around?
I have been to Seattle dozens of times in my life - probably the American city I have visited most of any. I even went to a Memorial Cup tournament in Seattle in the mid-90s and saw the empty Key Arena as the Thunderbirds played in the tournament.

I have talked to sports fans and non-sports fans alike in Seattle and I have never seen much interest in hockey or the NHL. In an environment where they love football and basketball so much more, the NHL will be a money loser in this city.

Unless there is this huge hockey loving sub-culture that hides from me every time I visit, I just don't see it being any more successful than Nashville or Miami.

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11-15-2012, 01:15 PM
  #636
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
I have been to Seattle dozens of times in my life - probably the American city I have visited most of any. I even went to a Memorial Cup tournament in Seattle in the mid-90s and saw the empty Key Arena as the Thunderbirds played in the tournament.

I have talked to sports fans and non-sports fans alike in Seattle and I have never seen much interest in hockey or the NHL. In an environment where they love football and basketball so much more, the NHL will be a money loser in this city.

Unless there is this huge hockey loving sub-culture that hides from me every time I visit, I just don't see it being any more successful than Nashville or Miami.
You haven't looked around that much. Here in Tacoma we have multiple men's leagues where regular joe's learn and play the game. If interest was tepid I could see one small league. Multiple decent sized leagues speaks to a hockey sub-culture that you aren't seeing. Both the Thunderbirds and the Silvertips are solid draws in their current arenas. They weren't going to draw in Key Arena as the old owner of the Supersonics had the arena configured to make it bad for hockey (one of the things that would be fixed if Key was to be used as a temp home for an NHL team).

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11-15-2012, 01:34 PM
  #637
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You haven't looked around that much. Here in Tacoma we have multiple men's leagues where regular joe's learn and play the game. If interest was tepid I could see one small league. Multiple decent sized leagues speaks to a hockey sub-culture that you aren't seeing. Both the Thunderbirds and the Silvertips are solid draws in their current arenas. They weren't going to draw in Key Arena as the old owner of the Supersonics had the arena configured to make it bad for hockey (one of the things that would be fixed if Key was to be used as a temp home for an NHL team).
Not sure if participation in men's leagues is a great indicator of NHL success. In Edmonton, we have thousands of kids who play soccer and many adults as well - both indoor and outdoor. The NASL pro team we have here does OK but I don't think they have ever gotten more than 2,500 to a game. Part of it is the stadium limitation on seating but, the interest in playing the game hasn't necessarily translated to ticket sales and interest in the pro team. Even when we bring in club teams from England or Brazil (Everton played River Plate from Argentina here a couple years back), there are thousands of empty seats at our stadium. Attendance at that game was 15,800 in a 60,000 seat stadium. Putting an MLS team here wouldn't work - the interest doesn't exist to support a team at that level. Millions of dollars would be lost trying to build a fan base - just like will happen in Seattle with the NHL.

I like Seattle a lot, it is a great city. I would like to see NHL hockey work there but, I just don't see the interest in the game that would be required to make it successful. Even in cities where attendance appears pretty good, a lot of tickets are given away or sold at such discounts that, even a sell-out crowd guarantees losses. NHL hockey needs to be important on the sporting landscape to have success and, I just don't see hockey being that important in Seattle.


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11-15-2012, 01:58 PM
  #638
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Not sure if participation in men's leagues is a great indicator of NHL success. In Edmonton, we have thousands of kids who play soccer and many adults as well - both indoor and outdoor. The NASL pro team we have here does OK but I don't think they have ever gotten more than 2,500 to a game. Part of it is the stadium limitation on seating but, the interest in playing the game hasn't necessarily translated to ticket sales and interest in the pro team. Even when we bring in club teams from England or Brazil (Everton played River Plate from Argentina here a couple years back), there are thousands of empty seats at our stadium. Attendance at that game was 15,800 in a 60,000 seat stadium. Putting an MLS team here wouldn't work - the interest doesn't exist to support a team at that level. Millions of dollars would be lost trying to build a fan base - just like will happen in Seattle with the NHL.

I like Seattle a lot, it is a great city. I would like to see NHL hockey work there but, I just don't see the interest in the game that would be required to make it successful. Even in cities where attendance appears pretty good, a lot of tickets are given away or sold at such discounts that, even a sell-out crowd guarantees losses. NHL hockey needs to be important on the sporting landscape to have success and, I just don't see hockey being that important in Seattle.
What it shows is there's an interest in hockey. That's something that a successful franchise needs. There's a reason why there are so many junior teams in this general area and it's not because droves of Canadians drive down from BC.

What would you define as needed for a successful franchise? As I see it having a team that will be the #1 team in a market isn't necessary. Are the Bruins a successful franchise? They're #4 in their market: 1. Red Sox 2. Celtics 3. Patriots 4. Bruins. How about the Red Wings? #4 again: 1. Lions 2. Tigers 3. Pistons 4. Red Wings. The Rangers? #6 : 1. Giants 2. Yankees 3. Jets 4. Knicks 5. Mets 6. Rangers. The Blackhawks? #5 : 1. Bears 2. Cubs 3. Bulls 4. White Sox 5. Blackhawks.

All of those are considered successful franchises and NONE of them are better than #4 in their respective markets. These are Original Six hockey bastions. Are they not, by your definitions, successful? Why does an NHL team have to be #1 in Seattle for it to be a success?

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11-15-2012, 02:12 PM
  #639
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What it shows is there's an interest in hockey. That's something that a successful franchise needs. There's a reason why there are so many junior teams in this general area and it's not because droves of Canadians drive down from BC.

What would you define as needed for a successful franchise? As I see it having a team that will be the #1 team in a market isn't necessary. Are the Bruins a successful franchise? They're #4 in their market: 1. Red Sox 2. Celtics 3. Patriots 4. Bruins. How about the Red Wings? #4 again: 1. Lions 2. Tigers 3. Pistons 4. Red Wings. The Rangers? #6 : 1. Giants 2. Yankees 3. Jets 4. Knicks 5. Mets 6. Rangers. The Blackhawks? #5 : 1. Bears 2. Cubs 3. Bulls 4. White Sox 5. Blackhawks.

All of those are considered successful franchises and NONE of them are better than #4 in their respective markets. These are Original Six hockey bastions. Are they not, by your definitions, successful? Why does an NHL team have to be #1 in Seattle for it to be a success?
It doesn't need to be #1 but, it does need to have a significant interest. In Boston, Chicago, NY and Detroit there is significant interest in the game and has been for a long time. As you can see from Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, Carolina and Columbus - creating a significant interest in the NHL is a tall order. It doesn't happen overnight and may not happen at all if there isn't significant interest before the team ever gets there.

I would like to see Seattle succeed but, based on my observations, in 15 years we will be likely talking about where the Seattle team is planning to move.

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11-15-2012, 02:22 PM
  #640
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It doesn't need to be #1 but, it does need to have a significant interest. In Boston, Chicago, NY and Detroit there is significant interest in the game and has been for a long time. As you can see from Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, Carolina and Columbus - creating a significant interest in the NHL is a tall order. It doesn't happen overnight and may not happen at all if there isn't significant interest before the team ever gets there.

I would like to see Seattle succeed but, based on my observations, in 15 years we will be likely talking about where the Seattle team is planning to move.
Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, and Carolina all have something in common: No tradition of hockey in the region and interest having to be generated from the ground up. Ohio I can't speak to so perhaps another poster can fill us in on hockey there? The Pacific Northwest is different from those regions: Here there's a hockey tradition going back more than a hundred years with involvement in hockey on a number of levels over those years. An entirely different situation from the American South.

In any case I don't want to get into a verbal brawl with you over it as you're one of the posters I see eye to eye with on a bunch of subjects

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11-15-2012, 02:28 PM
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Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, and Carolina all have something in common: No tradition of hockey in the region and interest having to be generated from the ground up. Ohio I can't speak to so perhaps another poster can fill us in on hockey there? The Pacific Northwest is different from those regions: Here there's a hockey tradition going back more than a hundred years with involvement in hockey on a number of levels over those years. An entirely different situation from the American South.

In any case I don't want to get into a verbal brawl with you over it as you're one of the posters I see eye to eye with on a bunch of subjects
Agreed.

I could end up being completely wrong about Seattle - and I hope I am wrong because I love the city. Just commenting on my observations.

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11-15-2012, 02:35 PM
  #642
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Agreed.

I could end up being completely wrong about Seattle - and I hope I am wrong because I love the city. Just commenting on my observations.
I've only been here two years but I've had the chance to dig into the hockey of the area, naturally enough as I'm immersed in hockey myself. I lived for 42 years in the Washington DC metro area where, except for a brief stretch in the early 2000s, we've had a strong, stable franchise for around 30 years. The early years were a mess to be sure but all that changed in the '80s. And that's an area were there are no junior teams and closest the closest minor league team is 3 hours away. The Caps are pretty much it for hockey in the area I'm from.

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11-15-2012, 02:52 PM
  #643
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It doesn't need to be #1 but, it does need to have a significant interest. In Boston, Chicago, NY and Detroit there is significant interest in the game and has been for a long time.
No s*** Sherlock... you cited two thirds of the Original 6

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11-15-2012, 02:55 PM
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No s*** Sherlock... you cited two thirds of the Original 6
Easy now. Ogopogo and I aren't being snippy with each other. We're just having a pleasant discussion hashing over our views. And in fairness I brought up those cities in the first place.

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11-15-2012, 02:57 PM
  #645
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I have been to Seattle dozens of times in my life - probably the American city I have visited most of any. I even went to a Memorial Cup tournament in Seattle in the mid-90s and saw the empty Key Arena as the Thunderbirds played in the tournament.

I have talked to sports fans and non-sports fans alike in Seattle and I have never seen much interest in hockey or the NHL. In an environment where they love football and basketball so much more, the NHL will be a money loser in this city.

Unless there is this huge hockey loving sub-culture that hides from me every time I visit, I just don't see it being any more successful than Nashville or Miami.
So, a junior tourney couldn't fill an NHL size arena and that is your basis? Because there wasn't much interest in the NHL in a city before they have a team? Do you think there was much interest in Denver in the NHL between the time of the Rockies leaving and the Nords coming? Think there was much interest in hockey in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh pre-1967? I do not think the Memorial Cup tournament could fill up MSG, but the Rangers aren't having any problem making money.

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11-15-2012, 03:04 PM
  #646
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So, a junior tourney couldn't fill an NHL size arena and that is your basis? Because there wasn't much interest in the NHL in a city before they have a team? Do you think there was much interest in Denver in the NHL between the time of the Rockies leaving and the Nords coming? Think there was much interest in hockey in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh pre-1967? I do not think the Memorial Cup tournament could fill up MSG, but the Rangers aren't having any problem making money.
Actually, a junior hockey tourney that couldn't even fill a junior sized arena. There were less than 3,000 people in the seats for most of the games - and many of us that did show up were from Canada.

Just saying that it is a difficult task to build a hockey market and many teams fold or move long before ever pulling it off. Without interest in the game to begin with, a market is in a very tough spot.

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11-15-2012, 05:22 PM
  #647
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Of which, I can assure you as a former Tacoma resident who is familiar with the people and the sports scene of Seattle, there is plenty. People who are concerned about entertainment dollars being divided among one or two extra teams should the NHL and/or NBA come to town are forgetting the other side of this issue. There are copious amounts of entertainment dollars that aren't being spent--be it from Sounders/Mariners/etc. fans who also like the NBA/NHL, or people who would only follow the NBA/NHL and therefore don't have anything to spend their sports entertainment dollars on--simply because there aren't enough options for certain people.
I'm plenty familiar with Seattle. No metro area has unlimited disposable income, especially in the Age of Obama. When a metro is over-capacity, the higher priority sports get the money, and the lower priority sports suffer.

In fact, a study of metro economic capacity back in 2010 showed that Seattle had the spare metro income for either the NBA or NHL, but not both.

If you think Seattle can easily absorb two new pro sports franchises on the scale of an NHL and NBA team, you are seriously underestimating how much local spending it takes to keep and NHL and NBA team running.

I think the NBA would do fine and the NHL team would suffer.

Much harder to predict how the MLS team would do. MLS is still in an excitement phase in Seattle. People thinking MLS is on the verge of going big. Which it isn't. Ten years from now, when MLS still gets miniscule TV ratings and it's clear soccer isn't the next big thing in America, the crowds will die down a great deal. Seattle Sounders still have that new car smell.

I think MLS has done a good job of carving out a niche. But part of the excitement in the recent expansion cities is the feeling that MLS is on the verge of breaking out and challenging the Big 4. Attendance is doing very well. But TV ratings still suck -- with no signs of improvement.

MLS will always have the problem of being a 3rd tier league globally, talent-wise. Ten years from now MLS still will be third tier and the new car smell will have worn off.

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11-15-2012, 06:36 PM
  #648
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I have been to Seattle dozens of times in my life - probably the American city I have visited most of any. I even went to a Memorial Cup tournament in Seattle in the mid-90s and saw the empty Key Arena as the Thunderbirds played in the tournament.

I have talked to sports fans and non-sports fans alike in Seattle and I have never seen much interest in hockey or the NHL. In an environment where they love football and basketball so much more, the NHL will be a money loser in this city.

Unless there is this huge hockey loving sub-culture that hides from me every time I visit, I just don't see it being any more successful than Nashville or Miami.
And there's one other thing you're missing too, and this has been discussed before here in this thread, and that is the REGIONAL draw a Seattle team would generate. A Seattle team would likely draw fans in from Portland, Spokane, Boise, Anchorage, and points in between, not to mention all the fans from B.C. and Alberta who would travel down for games involving the Canadian teams.

And frankly, Seattle has a much better hockey culture now that it did 20-some years ago when they had the Memorial Cup here.

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11-15-2012, 07:17 PM
  #649
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Actually, a junior hockey tourney that couldn't even fill a junior sized arena. There were less than 3,000 people in the seats for most of the games - and many of us that did show up were from Canada.

Just saying that it is a difficult task to build a hockey market and many teams fold or move long before ever pulling it off. Without interest in the game to begin with, a market is in a very tough spot.
Aside from your "observations" any facts about attendance to the Memorial cup in 1992 which was 20 years ago? I can't see much but A> that was before the renovations of Seattle Colliseum - Key Arena. B> Before the evolution of big cities, big event showcase for the Memorial Cup. 20 years ago, Seattle's metro population was just at 2M. Today there are over 3.5M people in the metro area. 20 years ago there were 2 WHL teams as there is today <Tacoma & Seattle then, now Everett & Seattle/Kent>

And Ogopogo is from Edmonton which is one of the teams that are threatening to move to Seattle. Yes Edmonton would support a hockey team better than Seattle since it would be the #1 team and essentially only team in town (Esks, Oil Kings, etc are much smaller).

In Seattle, at best an NHL will be #3 or 4 in the market behind Seahawks, UW Huskies and Mariners (maybe not Ms)... They could surpass the MLS Sounders when/if a team comes and the "new car smell" of MLS is gone - it's a hipster thing hence the NW is big on it... It pains me that NBA has to come first to get the arena because I really think the NHL would work best if it had 1-2 year head start on the NBA.

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11-15-2012, 07:46 PM
  #650
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And Ogopogo is from Edmonton which is one of the teams that are threatening to move to Seattle. Yes Edmonton would support a hockey team better than Seattle since it would be the #1 team and essentially only team in town (Esks, Oil Kings, etc are much smaller).
I doubt very seriously that figured into Ogopogo's point of view. The Oilers moving was, as I said, NEVER going to happen and only the most alarmist of Chicken Little in Edmonton bought into Katz's little extortion scheme. Empty threats was all it was and I'm pretty sure the people in Edmonton knew it.

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