SUN Hockey Pool

Contenders for NHL relocation

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:32 PM ET

Here's a look at the cities rumoured to have at least expressed interest in an NHL franchise and could be in line for the relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes if an owner can't be found to keep them in Glendale, Ariz., or, potentially, an expansion franchise:

SEATTLE

Population: 3.3 million

Television: 12th, 1,811,420 homes

Arena: KeyArena (17,000). Former home of the Seattle SuperSonics of the NBA from 1967 to 2008. Discussions are underway for a public-private initiative for a new arena with the goal of returning the NBA to the Pacific Northwest. Both an NBA team and an NHL team could play at KeyArena until a new building was ready. The folks in Seattle are keeping their eyes on what's happening in Sacramento with the NBA's Kings, whose owners, the Maloof brothers, want a new building there.

Plus: There has been talk Don Levin, who owns the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, is interested in owning an NHL team in Seattle. There would be a natural rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks and, if it's the Coyotes who move there, would keep an East-West balance.

Minus: KeyArena is a basketball building with obstructed seats for hockey. Might not be acceptable even as a short-term solution for NHL.

KANSAS CITY

Population: 1.7 million

Television: 31st, 939,740 homes

Arena: Sprint Center (18,000). Opened in 2007 at a cost of $276 million. It has hosted three NHL exhibition games, most recently last fall when the Pittsburgh Penguins visited with the Los Angeles Kings

Plus: Hmm. It's in the West?

Minus: NHL has failed there once already. The Kansas City Scouts were in the NHL from 1974-76, playing in the old Kemper Arena, becoming the Colorado Rockies and the New Jersey Devils. Nobody has stepped forward to own the team.

LAS VEGAS

Population: 1.3 million

Television: 40th, 737,300 homes

Arena: None.

Plus: Could be an advantage to being the first major professional sports franchise to set up shop in Sin City.

Minus: There's a reason why none of the major sports leagues have gone into Vegas. People go there to gamble on sports events and not, apparently, to watch them. There was talk Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer was interested in owning a team there, but that interest has subsided.

QUEBEC CITY

Population: 765,706

Television: Seventh biggest market in Canada

Arena: Le Colisee (15,399). Former home of the Quebec Nordiques of the WHA (1972-79) and NHL (1979-1995).

Plus: No questioning the passion for the game in a Canadian market. There's a plan for a new rink, a temporary facility in Le Colisee that could be used until the new rink is ready and a prospective owner in Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau.

Minus: Is the market big enough to sustain a team over the long term?

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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