SEATTLE - Known as the Emerald City or Rain City USA, because of its frequently wet weather, Seattle has a thriving professional sports and hockey culture and the high incomes that would make it an attractive market for the NHL.
Two Western Hockey League major junior teams play in the area -- the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips. Both enjoy decent crowds, despite lacklustre on-ice performance.
Spokane, another city in Washington State, also has a popular WHL team.
Seattle has puck pedigree, too.
The Seattle Metropolitans played in the Pacific Coast Hockey League and won the Stanley Cup in 1917, beating the NHL's Montreal Canadiens.
The Metropolitans also played in the 1919 Stanley Cup final, which was cancelled after five games because of the deadly Spanish flu pandemic.
The team made a third appearance in the Cup final in 1920, losing to the Ottawa Senators.
Seattle is similar to Quebec City in that both would strike up immediate NHL rivalries with their neighbours: Quebec with Montreal, and Seattle with Vancouver.
A spirited rivalry already exists between soccer fans in Seattle, Vancouver and Portland at MLS games.