Geoff Baker (not a guy who's been really warm to issues of the proposed arena being worked in Seattle) attached to a story in the last 10 days about the NHL potentially making an expansion announcement after the now-concluded Olympics in Sochi. http://seattletimes.com/html/hockey/202 ... 20xml.html
The announcement probably isn't that imminent, as an environmental impact statement draft
is due in March. If that is approved and an MOU amended to permit the NHL to catalyze the building (an NBA team is currently required to trigger the agreement), it appears the NHL is ready to expand.
It does appear Seattle can't happen alone. Thing is...
Kansas City has indicated lukewarm interest. I guess there's an owner, but the city is making money off Sprint Center and won't easily give up revenue streams.
Milwaukee- not enough suites in the old building, not really the momentum to use NHL in a new building.
Houston- Les Alexander basically pushed away the AHL Aeros and seems to be blocking any notion of NHL in the arena now.
Portland- after the Coyotes saga was finished, a report came out in The Oregonian that Paul Allen was ready to buy the team, and more boldly, they were the top choice of the NHL. I believe there's a catch... Allen wasn't going to pay top dollar for the Coyotes. Mr. Baker, in an interview in Vancouver this weekend, made a comment about Seattle not really being ready, so the media here is keeping an eye out; that sort of confirmed the O story. It means nothing about expansion... Allen isn't going to pay for it the way Seattle is likely to do, especially if another Baker rumor is correct and Steve Ballmer becomes the lead investor. So, no Portland.
Someone inside the NHL dropped a whisper about Las Vegas. One of the major Vegas casino conglomerates is on the verge of breaking ground on a new facility that "could" host NHL or NBA, behind the New York New York property. Please note that the same conglomerate already runs MGM Grand Garden; so it's a subject of some intrigue. Possibly even more important; even though Vegas is in the Pacific Time Zone, there are so many direct flights from all over that it might make more sense to place them in the Central Division. However, it also makes sense to build this arena for bigger concerts and not necessarily a team.
Quebec is building an arena, has an owner; they're going to be ready. It may well be them.