Coyotes’ solution remains a puzzle: Seattle, Quebec City or status quo?
The good people of Quebec will pay approximately $400-million for an arena to be built by 2015, in the hope that the National Hockey League will see fit to repatriate the Nordiques after all these years. And the Phoenix Coyotes, a franchise that has bled away in limbo for nearly three years, is the best bet.
And right now, it appears there are three options, and not necessarily in this order: One, the Coyotes are packed up within the next month or so and moved to Quebec City, where la Colisée is hastily renovated with city money, and the party lasts all night and through much of the summer, and those who own provincial liquor distributorships or local bars are eventually able to buy their own islands.
Two, the Coyotes are moved to Seattle, which seems far more complicated. The arena plan put forward by hedge fund magnate Christopher Hansen and the city of Seattle last month is predicated on an NBA team first, though the NHL says Seattle could work for them irrespective of Hansen’s plan.
“Yes, I do believe that is possible,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email. “But even if done in conjunction for purposes of a new arena, that plan wouldn’t necessitate NBA expansion or relocation for next year.” He added that an NHL team could theoretically move to Seattle without an NBA team ever doing the same. Since there is no public arena plan in Seattle other than the one put forward by Hansen last month, and since there has been no public arena plan approved by the city and county since the Sonics left, and since Key Arena is frankly unsuitable for hockey, this seems a difficult trick.
Three, the Coyotes stay in Phoenix for another year, or in the realm of the least improbable eventualities, even longer. Daly declined to provide an update, saying “We are continuing to work on a Glendale solution.” This would likely require the NHL and Glendale both paying bills they would prefer not to pay, though it is said there are some in Quebec City who would not be entirely surprised by this.