Seattle Bought A Bazillion Season Ticket Pre-Orders For Professional Hockey

This is really happening, you guys!

Yesterday, pre-order season tickets officially went on sale for a hypothetical future hockey team in Seattle.  This is standard, apparently, when cities are trying to bring in expansion franchises.  Las Vegas, the last city to enter the NHL, got 10,000 people to pre-order season tickets.  As arenas generally hold around 20,000 people or so, this sounded pretty impressive.  It’s less impressive when you find out it took them well over  a month to get to that 10,000 total.

Less impressive, you see, because it took Seattle approximately 12 minutes to reach that number.  In the first day alone, they apparently got upwards of three times that amount.

So, yeah, I guess Seattle is a hockey town.  Who knew?  More importantly, this all but guarantees Seattle will have the NHL by 2020.  Two little, short years away.

WINTER SPORTS ARE BACK, BABY!!!

I find this tremendously exciting.  I need winter sports back in my life.  More importantly, my blog needs winter sports!  With football season coming to an unceremonious end in early January, there was only so much Seahawks fallout I could write about.  And, with the Mariners suspiciously quiet on the free agent/trade fronts this winter, there’s only so much Husky basketball I can write about, especially when I miss at least half the games because the Pac-12 plays them so late.  My blog work trickled off the last week in January, and was pathetic the entire month of February (7 total posts!).  Sure, March has Spring Training, but this Mariners team makes me sick, so I don’t figure to start writing about baseball until the games start.

That’s a solid 2-month black hole!  A black hole that should feature professional hockey in the very near future.

I didn’t purchase any season tickets, because there’s just no way that would work for me.  While I hope to live closer to Seattle in 2020 (or thereabouts), my work schedule is still pretty prohibitivie when it comes to attending night games during the week.  If I lived in the neighborhood still, it might be another matter (but, again, that neighborhood is South Lake Union, and I’m not a millionaire, so I can’t really afford to live there AND pay for a season’s worth of home games).  Besides, I’m not really an uber hockey fan.  I don’t really know all the ins and outs, and I feel like it would behoove me to watch on TV, with announcers who are sympathetic to the fair-weather Seattle hockey fan such as myself.  I mean, let’s face it, on my list of favorite sports teams, this hockey club will be at a significant disadvantage, behind Husky football, Husky basketball, the Seahawks, the Sonics (whenever they return) and the Mariners.

Though, to be fair, it probably won’t take much for Seattle Hockey to surpass the M’s in my fandom.  Making the playoffs literally one time will probably do it.

If this was the return of the Sonics, I might be singing a different tune.  I could see myself shifting my life around to make NBA basketball work (or, at the very least, buying a significant package of season tickets, if not all 41 games), but I feel like my hockey attendance will be occasional.  Friday/Saturday games, maybe once or twice a month at the most.

Also, not for nothing, but if someone like my brother wanted to go in on season tickets, I’d probably be more inclined that way.  But, his swing shift work schedule is even wackier than mine right now.  Plus, he lives in South Tacoma, which would make it an even longer trip.

But, that’s not important.  What’s important is that Seattle didn’t need me to get this thing to work.  There are plenty of crazy hockey fans here to show the world we deserve this franchise.  The owners are in place (which is more than we can say for the Sonics), the building is in the works, and the league wants us (which is more than we can say for the NBA).  It would be nearly impossible to fuck this up.

Why did that feel like “famous last words”?  If there’s a way to fuck up a sure thing, Seattle could unquestionably find it.

A New Arena And The NHL Are On The Way

There’s been a lot of news in this area lately.  For starters, the MOU for the SoDo Arena has expired.  What a shame.  We had so much hope for that arena, that location, and the impending move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, and piece by piece that dream was destroyed.

There were ultimately a lot of forces at play preventing the SoDo Arena from ever coming to fruition, but if I’m being honest, as much as I want to rail against the NBA, the shady Sacramento city government, the do-nothing Seattle City Council, the Port, the Mariners, and everyone else who fought tooth and nail to torpedo Chris Hansen’s plan, I would argue that just as much blame falls on Chris Hansen’s shoulders.

Not because he wasn’t a better politician, not because he donated money against the Sacramento arena plan (drawing the NBA’s ire), and not because he couldn’t attract enough local money (particularly when Steve Ballmer dropped out to buy the Clippers).  I blame Chris Hansen because, as crazy as this sounds, he never went far enough.  He never went above and beyond.  He kept trying to pinch pennies when – if he really wanted to get the job done – he should’ve over-paid.

I sound like an asshole for saying that, and I get it:  Chris Hansen is a saint.  He tried to almost single-handedly bring the NBA back to Seattle!  Not because he could make a buck on it, but out of the goodness of his heart.  He was not only going to pay for the arena himself, but he was going to plow a bunch of millions of dollars into improving the city around him, with the Lander overpass and the money earmarked to improving Seattle Center.  Hell, he even cobbled together a last-ditch plan to renovate Key Arena while at the same time building his SoDo Arena!

But, that’s just it.  It seems like it was ALL last ditch efforts.  His initial plan wasn’t to make the SoDo Arena 100% privately funded; that only came about when he was met with push-back and the probability of the city going in another direction with the Oak View Group.  Initially, Hansen was asking for tax breaks or whatever.  Then, when the Kings were up for auction, he put up his bid – which was ultimately met by the bid of the current owners – and the NBA sided with the group looking to keep the team in Sacramento.  It wasn’t until after the NBA made its decision did Hansen opt to tack on an extra $100 or $150 million.  Had he gone above and beyond from his opening bid – essentially making the Maloof brothers an offer they couldn’t refuse, and that couldn’t be met by any other gaggle of billionaires – we would have the Sonics back in Seattle right now.

Ultimately, Chris Hansen was willing to do the most and pay the most; he would always have the final word that went above and beyond what anyone else was willing to offer.  But, it was always too late.  It was always after agreements had been made by other parties.  Had he come correct, from the get-go, things would be very different right now.

It might be smart business – don’t start out with your final offer, have some bullets left in the chamber that you can offer to sweeten the deal – but that’s assuming you’re dealing with other businessmen, and not politicians.  If you’re dealing with businessmen, then yeah, of course they’ll accept the very best deal.  Why wouldn’t they?  With politicians, they’ve got other interests they have to take into consideration.  It’s not right; it’s not necessarily the way I would prefer the world works, but that’s life.

So, instead of having the NBA back and a sweet arena right next door to Safeco Field, we’re getting a renovated Seattle Center arena and the NHL.

If I had my druthers, I’d have the Sodo Arena over the Seattle Center arena, but I feel less strongly about it than I once did.  Most of that has to do with the fact that I no longer live in South Lake Union, only a mile from Key Arena.  So, you know, I don’t have to deal with the bullshit traffic anymore.  And, if I’m being honest, it’s not like I’m going to attend all that many games in person.  I go to less than 10 Mariners games a year, and most of the time those are just excuses to socialize with my friends.  If you go to a sporting event in an arena, you’re pretty much there just to watch the game.  If you’re at Safeco, you can wander around, hang out in the beer garden, chit chat with your friends at your seats; it’s much more casual.  If I go to a hockey game at Seattle Center, I’ll probably just walk from my work on a Friday, or catch a bus or a Lyft or something.  I CERTAINLY won’t drive, or look to park there, because that would be insane.

Parking and traffic aside, whatever man, I don’t care.  Just build the fucking thing and get me a fucking professional winter sport.

As such, a new MOU was signed this month.  And, the NHL has already set in motion a process that should one day put a team in Seattle.

October 2020 is the estimated completion date.  But, considering they have to dig down to open the thing up – because the stupid roof is a historical landmark for some reason – I highly doubt this thing is going to finish on time.  Nevertheless, here we go!  The next few years should be fun!

Assuming, of course, the whole thing doesn’t get derailed by lawsuits, or the politicians getting cold feet.  Have I told you how much I hate this city?  Seattle sucks SO HARD.

I will say this, though:  I’m looking forward to professional hockey.  I’m not the biggest hockey fan in the world right now, but my brother is, and I’ve socked back a few beers and watched some games with him on TV, so I kinda sorta get the gist.  Assuming everything works out, and Seattle gets a team, you better believe I’m getting in on the ground floor!  I plan on familiarizing myself with the ins and outs and whathaveyous:  the rules, the history of the game, all of it.  I am BUYING in, big time!  And not just because I need more sports to write about on my blog between the end of football season and the start of baseball season.

I like hockey!  I don’t love it; as I said, I’m not a super fan or anything.  But, I feel like that’s because I’ve never had a team.  The closest team to me is in Vancouver BC, but that might as well be in Timbuktu.  When the shit do I ever go to Canada?  I’m pretty sure the last two times I’ve been to Vancouver, it was for Pearl Jam concerts.  It’s a pain in the ass just getting to Seattle, or Lynnwood, or God-foresaken Mill Creek; the rest of that stretch, up through Bellingham and on into Canada is the slog of all slogs.

And considering it’s not like the Canucks are featured on local television, I’d have to wait to see them on Hockey Night In Canada.

With a team in Seattle, with the games on Root Sports or whatever, being able to watch them on a regular basis, I feel like I could really get into the sport.  And, if they ever get good enough, who knows?  Maybe I’ll like them just as much as I did the Sonics!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still hoping we get the NBA back someday, but hockey is more than a good-enough substitute.

It’s Looking Like Key Arena Or Bust

It’s been pretty quiet on the Seattle arena front ever since the City Council denied the street vacation.  Since then, Chris Hansen has taken another stab at trying to get things to go his way by making his arena deal fully privately financed.  Again, seems like a deal he could’ve brought to the table initially to get this thing going – just like he could’ve offered above-and-beyond what the Kings were worth, when they were on the open market, to force everyone’s hand in backing down – but I guess I sort of understand.  You hold some concessions back in the event your opponent asks for a little more, so they can feel like they got one over on you.  But, again, feels like it’s too little, too late for Hansen.

The city has opted to go another direction; they want a renovated Key Arena.  It’s a city asset, and they want to maximize its potential financially, so you can see where they’re coming from.  Is it good for the local sports fans?  Absolutely not.  Is it good for the neighborhood – already maxed to a breaking point with residents and traffic congestion?  Absolutely not.  Is it even good for the city?  That remains to be seen.  But, the city went and solicited plans to renovate the Key, and they’ve sided with the Oak View Group.

OVG is saying all the right things, of course.  They’re going to build a world-class arena.  It’ll be top notch as far as acoustics are concerned, which is a good thing, because the Key is severely lacking at the moment.  They’re also going to make it work with the current roof – being protected as a historical landmark or some damn thing – by digging down into the Earth to retrofit it for the NBA and NHL.  And, good news!  They’ve already got a potential ownership group ready and willing to bring the NHL to Seattle.

This is absolutely critical to the whole thing; of course, I’ll believe it when I see it.  OVG is supposedly building this thing to be a concert venue first and foremost; that’s how they can justify starting with construction without an anchor tennant attached.  This thing will apparently be financially viable even if there’s no NBA or NHL team.  That scares me a little bit.  Because where is their motivation?  Is OVG going to be part-owners of any team we bring in?  I’m not totally sure I know all the ins and outs of this thing, because I know the city gets a slice, and the prospective team ownership group gets a slice, and now OVG gets a slice; how many ways can you slice this thing to where it’s profitable for all parties involved?

The only thing that matters to me is getting the ol’ foot in the door.  Let’s get a winter sport attached to this thing and go from there.

If I had my choice, if it were all up to my decision, obviously I’d do away with this Key Arena nonsense, approve the SoDo plan (and its fucking street vacation), and work things out so if the NHL has to be first, then so be it.  With SoDo, there’s no wait; with the Key, I believe they won’t be able to start construction until 2019 or 2020.  With SoDo, we’ll be able to build the type of palace that the leagues can be proud of; with the Key, it’s still going to be one of the smallest buildings in either league, and it’ll likely be out-dated as soon as it opens.  What happens when we have to renovate the Key yet again in another decade, to put in more suites or seats or a bigger jumbotron or whathaveyou?  On top of that, the SoDo area can handle the traffic; the new Key will absolutely cripple South Lake Union on gamedays.  In SoDo, you’ll be able to take a bevy of public transportation options; in SoDo, you can actually park if you want to drive.  At the Key, you can really do neither.  There are bus lines, but no light rail.  The Monorail is a stupid joke that the Seattle Times is trying to pass off as viable (even though, DUH, there’s nowhere to park in downtown Seattle either).  Also, don’t be surprised if the average fan is priced out of the Key; how else are they going to recoup costs and what will almost certainly be construction cost overruns?

It’s frustrating because the city of Seattle is, once again, making the wrong choice.  The Seattle Way is also The Way Of The Moron.  Seattle loves to look a gift horse in the mouth while it’s getting buttfucked by an STD-riddled Trojan Horse.  I can’t wait for this to blow up in everyone’s faces so all of us fans of the SoDo Arena can tell these cunts, “I Told You So!”  Except, of course, by that time, the SoDo land will have been sold for office buildings and condos, and we STILL won’t have the fucking Sonics back in Seattle.

It’s really starting to dawn on me that I’m never going to have the Sonics back in my lifetime.  Even if I have a good 30 years left in me, which is probably being pretty generous, where is the path to getting the NBA back?  Getting the NHL will be cool, and I’m sure I’ll embrace it wholeheartedly once it comes, but does that mean an NBA team isn’t far behind?  I wonder.

I keep hearing about how the NBA wouldn’t want to be a second-class citizen in a town that got the NHL first.  I don’t think that’s necessarily true, because I think this is a Sonics town through and through, but you could understand why they’d think that.

The fucked up thing is that Seattle is growing like crazy.  It’s got all these tech dollars here just burning holes in pockets!  These leagues should be busting down the doors to come to Seattle!  And, quite frankly, with how this city is pricing out the common man, thanks to the growth of Amazon, among others, we DESERVE to have these sports in this city.  We should get SOMETHING for how our city is being overwhelmed by the elites.

But, in the end, we’ll probably just get screwed over like we always do.  If you ask me, THAT’S the real Seattle Way.

It’s Not Looking Good For An NHL Expansion Franchise In Seattle

At least, not right now.  Maybe not ever, I dunno.

I don’t necessarily have my finger on the pulse of this situation, but I know this much:  no group from the greater Seattle area (aka:  please include Tukwila & Bellevue) submitted a bid for an expansion franchise by the deadline earlier this week.  Part of it probably has to do with the $10 million fee that was involved (all but $2 million would be returned if you didn’t win a new franchise), but most of it probably has to do with the $500 million charge to BUY that God-foresaken franchise, which doesn’t even take into account all that needs to be done to build a proper arena.

It kinda feels like Seattle is fucked in this situation, and everyone is at fault.  An owner can’t simply buy a new stadium with his own money, because the leagues (NHL & NBA) won’t allow that precedent to happen (because they’re money-hungry monsters who need to suckle at the public teet while giving back relatively little in the way of monetary compensation).  The Seattle city government is at fault because they’re bumbling boobs and apparently the whole world knows about how much our local government sucks.  The public at large is at fault because they allow these morons to stay in power; it’s a wonder how Seattle EVER managed to get professional sports franchises to come here!

This is what I think I know:

  • The NBA isn’t expanding anytime soon (i.e. in the next decade, probably more)
  • Seattle isn’t getting its SoDo arena without a tenant
  • The NHL could be that tenant, but we would have to change the MOU
  • The Seattle city government probably won’t change the MOU
  • If they did, the hockey owners would have to pony up on some of the risk
  • The hockey owners probably don’t want to pony up more risk
  • If we don’t find a tenant soon, the MOU will expire and the whole process would have to start all over again
  • Hockey could figure out a way to get an arena done in Tukwila or Bellevue
  • For obvious reasons, having an NHL franchise in Tukwila or Bellevue is less ideal than in Seattle
  • We probably won’t be getting the Sonics back if we can’t find a way for them to play in Seattle
  • The best way to get the NBA back would be if the NHL was already here and the arena is already built
  • But, again, see all the previous bullet points for why this is unlikely to happen

It would be great if we could just get everyone on the same page, but I guess that’s asking too much.  It sounds like Seattle is lacking in that financial big whale (a la Steve Ballmer) who’s willing to be the backbone of an NHL franchise.  Not shocking, since Seattle isn’t really a hockey town to begin with, so it’s not like we have this great history.  Seattle has plenty of millionaires, but again, not hockey fans.  So, if we’re to get a franchise, it’s going to be with out-of-town money.  And, these guys don’t know the area, don’t have ties to the area, don’t know how things work politically.  These guys just see a chance to own an NHL franchise and see a market with tons of growth potential.  An IDEAL scenario would have all these prospective NHL buyers conglomerate under one ownership group, under one arena plan (preferably in SoDo), and do whatever it takes to get us a team.

With the NHL in place, we get the arena going.  With the arena in place, maybe we can FINALLY hope for the NBA to get its shit together and give us what’s rightfully ours.  Of course, the catch 22 in all this is that Seattle might be less enticing of a market with the NHL already entrenched here.  I’d like to think 40 years of NBA history, combined with the ever-growing hotbed of prep talent would be enough to make Seattle viable, but I’m probably living in a dream world.

In a lot of ways, I’m addicted to sports and would have a tough time adjusting to life without them.  But, on the flipside, they can also be the bane of my existence.  Speaking of which, I’m going to be taking a break from writing about the Mariners on here.  I just, like, can’t even right now.

No Hockey In Seattle (For Now)

Glendale voted 4-3 to agree to the lease deal to keep the Coyotes in town, and another dangled carrot remains just out of reach for the city of Seattle.

Honestly, I was pretty damned surprised.  From the looks of things, the city is going to lose money on an annual basis just to keep a pro sports franchise.  I think it’s great, but then again I don’t mind paying a little taxes to keep the things I love.

How dumb is the city of Seattle?  I dunno, probably not very.  But, it sure does SUCK.  What it would have cost to keep the Sonics in town is nowhere NEAR what it ended up costing Glendale, for an inferior franchise in an inferior American sport.  And yet, you can look no further for an example of how hard it is to uproot a franchise and move it from a city.  Glendale is getting ass-rammed, yet they put it to a vote and decided to let the ass-ramming continue.  Seattle … had to extend a fucking hotel tax another couple decades (a burden primarily on the fucking TOURISTS and not even for our own citizens) and they decided to say, “Fuck you.”

Seattle sucks.  Let’s just call a spade a fucking spade.  Why any professional league would want to deal with this good-for-nothing city and its bullshit government is beyond me.  We deserve every fucking sports hardship we’re forced to endure, because we let these assholes hold our city hostage.

And so, like the NBA, the NHL will have to wait.  It was a longshot even if Glendale voted against the lease agreement.  The NHL would have had to have agreed to play in the interim in Key Arena (or, I guess, the Tacoma Dome, but that seems even more unlikely), they would have put it on faith that the MOU could be adjusted to allow the SoDo arena to be built prior to NBA and Chris Hansen involvement, and they would have needed owners willing to move and keep the team in Seattle.  When you’re talking about other cities existing, ready for hockey, with an arena already built, I can’t imagine that Seattle would have been high on anybody’s list.  Now, tack on grappling with this local city government, and I’m positive hockey wouldn’t have been coming our way.

As you go forth on this 4th of July holiday weekend, I want you all to reflect upon everything you have to be thankful for (which, I’m sure is a lot).  Then, I want you to reflect on everything that sucks.  And just know that everything that sucks is likely politically motivated, because we have nothing but cretins representing us, at all levels of government.  HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, BOYS AND GIRLS!

Why Would Glendale Vote To Keep The Coyotes?

I think it’s been established that I’m not a smart man.  I try my best, but ultimately my best devolves into a blathering rant of uninformed opinions with the occasional link to people who know what the shit they’re talking about in hopes to boost my own ego.  So, if you’re familiar with this situation, I’d be all ears.  Tell me:  what am I missing?

Here’s what I think I know:  the city of Glendale, Arizona – which is just a hop and a skip away from Phoenix – put $180 million into a $220 million arena back in 2003 to provide the already-existing Phoenix Coyotes with a real, legitimate hockey arena.  Now, they’re expected to pay $15 million a year for the next 15 years, just for the right to house a hockey team they’re not making any money from (though the company who plans to buy the team says the city will be able to recoup this money … somehow).

On top of that, there’s a 5-year out clause held by the company, where they can choose to move the team or sell it, thereby renegotiating a new deal with a new city.  But, of course, if Glendale tries to include a 5-year out clause, it’s a non-starter.

Normally, I’m all for the leagues and the teams.  If this were happening in Seattle and I was a long-standing Seattle Coyotes fan, I’d be pounding the podium demanding the city pony up to keep our team here, at whatever the cost.  But, being estranged from the situation, I just don’t see what a city like Glendale gets out of this.  They already put a bunch of money into the arena … now they’ve got to pay a team just to PLAY in its arena?  Why, if it was opened less than a decade ago, was a lease agreement not in place for at least another 20-some-odd years?  I DON’T GET IT!

Yeah, the businesses around it will be hurt.  Yeah, the city will lose revenue by not having a hockey team in attendance.  But, will it lose more than $15 million a year?  Will hockey every be popular enough there to recoup that annual cost?

I’m not too confident in Seattle’s chances to snag this team, unless we can figure out a work-around to get the new SoDo arena started immediately, but I have to think that at the very least we’re looking at a situation that isn’t totally crippling to a city.  You sure as shit know that Seattle won’t pay that kind of money to house a team.  Which leads me to wonder:  how does a city get embroiled with this type of deal?

Then I think about the old KeyArena deal with the city poaching half of the revenue and I see:  sometimes marriages just sour and you’ve got to start anew.

By the way, I looked up the Phoenix Coyotes Wikipedia page.  THEY seem to be pretty confident that we’ll see pro hockey in Seattle very soon:

What do you know that we don’t?

Let The Hockey Rumors Begin

You ever wonder how the present will be perceived in 50 or 100 years?  When you think of a major historical event, unless you’re some kind of expert or history buff, you just know the broad strokes.  Then, you see the volumes upon volumes of books on this very subject, and you realize there were a ton of intricacies involved to get you to those very broad strokes.

One thing in particular I wonder about when all is said and done:  how will people choose to remember the whole Sonics debacle in 2007 and 2008?  Because all those little things that got us to where we are today will eventually coalesce into one small footnote.

At the time, we held Clay Bennett in the highest of contempt, because he was actively lying to us, we KNEW he was lying to us, and yet he continued right on lying.  Once the team left and the sting started to subside, we all adopted the platform we still hold to this very day (and will likely hold at least through the point where we get another team):  Howard Schultz is an ass clown and it’s HIS fault we lost the Sonics.

But, I’m beginning to wonder, when it’s all said and done, in those aforementioned 50 or 100 years from now, when the Sonics are back in Seattle, emotions are settled, and we can once again focus on the GAME of basketball and not the politics of basketball, will we still hold the biggest grudge for Howard Schultz?  Sure, maybe some of the old-timers, who are old enough to remember these lawless times when men were men; but I bet when this is just a speck of dust on the overall History of the NBA, the consensus reason for the Sonics originally leaving Seattle will be because the city and state government totally and completely dropped the ball.

We’ll see.  I think this conversation will become much more clear in the ensuing years.  As the city of Sacramento is taking its well-deserved victory lap, the wheels of my theory have already been set in motion.  As a local and state government, only a wild pack of ninnies lets a major professional sports team walk away for practically nothing!  You’re SUPPOSED to scratch and claw and do everything at your disposal to keep the team in the city.  You’re SUPPOSED to exhaust all options.  And, in the end, you’re SUPPOSED to cave in to the demands of the sports league.  Because it’s just smart business.  A little fucking taxes to pay for a fucking arena never hurt nobody!

Because, in the end, when you come to your senses and realize how important that franchise was to your city, it’s going to cost you a LOT more to try to bring them back than it would have to just keep them here in the first place.

I mean, honestly, what was Schultz asking for?  A couple hundred million?  I don’t remember the figure off the top of my head, but I know it wasn’t a lot.  He wanted a couple/few hundred million to renovate Key Arena.  The NBA signed off on it, so we were a go!  But, the city shut that movement down, so the team was sold.  What was once a $200 million deal for a renovated Key Arena turned into a $500 million deal with Clay Bennett to build an arena in Renton.  Well, of course, if $200 million was denied, $500 million was out of the question!  Now, it’s going to cost generous billionaires nearly a billion dollars to bring this team back, while the city gets its peach of a deal.  But, at what cost?  Well, so far, it’s been five full seasons without the NBA and counting.  For other cities who have lost their teams, it has been a lot longer still.

Smart cities don’t get in the business of losing their franchises, because they spend the rest of eternity trying to get them back!  We’re somewhat lucky to be in Seattle, because we have a bigger market than most, so the NBA and the NHL would like to get into bed with us.  If you’re Kansas City or San Diego or Vancouver, you’re not quite as lucky.  You’re likely to spend a lot longer waiting than we will.

So, now we have this whole mess with Glendale and the Phoenix Coyotes.  Once again, Seattle is the Big, Bad Boogie Man, just like the deal with the Kings.  If I’m 100% honest, I have a little more confidence in the NHL getting here before the NBA, but I’m reluctant to jump right into this belief that the Coyotes are coming to town.

If Glendale is smart, they’ll figure out a way to keep their team, just like Sacramento was smart and kept their team.  If they flip off the NHL, then Seattle gets a new franchise and the Phoenix area waits about a hundred years before they get another taste of pro hockey.

A lot of people like to place the blame on the greedy-ass owners or the corrupt league commissioners.  But, when push comes to shove, what it really boils down to is the greedy-ass AND corrupt local politicians who are only in it for their own interests.  And, suffice it to say, their interests don’t coincide with sports leagues or the sports-loving common man.

But, just watch how fast they pull money out of their asses for another God damned art museum or classical music theater.

Let’s Go Silvertips!

I know this isn’t necessarily Seattle-related, but it’s Everett-related (and Portland-related).  And it’s about a sport.  AND it explains why I didn’t get to post anything on here yesterday (as for Thursday, well, cocaine is a helluva drug).

I work in Downtown Seattle.  So, I hopped on a northbound bus and met up with my friend who works in Lynnwood.  Together, we drove up to Everett and parked about two blocks away from the Comcast Arena.  It was about 5 or 5:30.  Game started at 7:30.

I’m definitely not the biggest hockey fan in the world, and as most “not the biggest hockey fans in the world” are, I prefer to watch the game in person as opposed to on television.  That might be a universal truth for ALL types of hockey fans, but unlike the most rabid of the rabid, I generally don’t find myself watching hockey on TV (unless I’m with my brother, and it’s playoff time).

Of course, if Seattle had an NHL team, that might be another story.  But they don’t, so that’s neither here nor there.

If you find yourself in Everett two hours before a hockey game, I would suggest you go to the Thai restaurant right across the street from Comcast Arena.  You know, if you like Thai food.  If you’ve never had it before and you’re just too chickenshit to try anything so ethnic, do me a favor:  order the chicken pad thai (5 stars), keep the cabbage shoved off to the side, and tell me that isn’t the height of deliciousness!  Anyway, I’m not just recommending this place for the food.  Their drinks are stiff!  Have the Long Island or the Mai Tai and you’ll be smooth sailing (at least, through the first period).

So, you know what I learned about (I’m just going to call it) minor league hockey?  These kids are just kids!  Some of them as young as 16 years old!  I know a guy who knows a guy whose grandmother (or maybe it was his regular mother) is a host for one of these players.  Apparently, they come down from Canada as 16 year olds, they find someone to live with, then they play hockey and go to school.  I can’t imagine the high school system in Everett is all that more impressive than those to be found in Canada, but good on ’em anyway.

I have a pretty tough time judging the quality of hockey from what I witnessed last night vs. what I’ve seen from the Pros on TV, but I gotta say those kids down there played their asses off!  Goalie Kent Simpson (born in 1992) stopped 40 of 42 shots.  As the Winterhawks had 11 more shots on goal, that’s pretty impressive.  Means the bulk of the evening was spent in Simpson’s side of the rink.

Things got off to a quick start as Everett piled up a 2-0 lead in the first period.  Portland kept things interesting in the second period, pulling to 3-2.  But, the Tips got a final goal early in the 3rd and it was hang-on time for the rest of the game.

Obvious highlight:  with about 2 minutes remaining, at the Portland goal, a HUGE fight broke out.  There was a first, minor skirmish that was broken up pretty quickly.  But, the second one was an all out slug-fest!  Gotta love hockey fights.

Other stuff:

  • So, whenever the visiting team has a guy come out of the penalty box after his 2 minutes for slashing or whatever, the announcer guy will say, “The Portland Winterhawks are at full strength,” which is followed by the entire crowd chanting, “AND THEY STILL SUCK!”  I don’t know if this is a hockey thing, or an Everett thing, but I was entertained.
  • They had not one, but two zambonis!  Believe me, it was completely necessary.
  • First Intermission:  they had a fish toss.  Two pairs of two, tossing a big ol’ fish back and forth.  Most number of completed passes wins a prize.  I would have wiped the floor with them.  Then, after that, it was the single longest Kiss Cam I’ve ever seen in my life.  They must have filmed every hetero couple in attendance (which, for the record, topped 4,000)!
  • Second Intermission:  they had a contest, I want to say it was called Chuck-A-Puck.  People bought into a raffle, were given a cheap novelty puck, and during this intermission they were told to throw the puck onto the ice.  There were two tires set up on either side of center ice (make it inside the tires, get some free tires, I guess).  Make it as close to the very center of the ice as possible, and win $100.  Not all that entertaining here, I’m not gonna lie to you.  This was followed by the longest Dance Cam I’ve ever seen in my life.  Just brutal.
  • The t-shirt cannon guy was a total joke; he never even came CLOSE to shooting it our way.  And the blimp guy that’s supposed to drop the coupons also summarily dismissed our side of the arena.  What a load of shit!

Overall, the Silvertips game was a quality experience.  For a fairly reasonable price, you get a lot of rip-roarin’ hockey action.  And, unlike the T-Birds, you don’t have to sit in Key Arena and be reminded of what’s no longer there.

Of course, you have to go to Everett.  I guess you take the good with the bad.

In Defense Of The Vancouver Rioters

I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people who make sweeping opinions about things are not actually affected by whatever it is they have an opinion on.  Like, for instance, people who condemn the “drug scourge” in our inner cities; who’s got the harshest criticisms?  Rich white men who absolutely never have to set foot in our inner cities ever.  Or those fervent “patriots” who want nothing more than to bomb the Middle East into submission:  those are your mullet-clad rednecks with cans of Bud in their hands and a million excuses as to why they’re not “over there” getting the job done for Uncle Sam.

The point is, the only people I want to hear from when referencing the Vancouver riots last night are the business owners whose establishments have been destroyed.  Everyone else is simply parroting politicians with no real ties to the carnage going down on the streets.

First of all, unless there were a bunch of murders or rapes, I don’t see what the problem is!  Some property damage, BIG DEAL.  That’s why we pay exorbitant amounts of money for insurance!

Oh, it’s a “black eye” for the city of Vancouver.  Is it really?  Is anyone going to remember this in two months outside of Vancouver?  Unlikely.  Being embarrassed isn’t the worst thing in the world.  You feel a little shame, some time passes, that shame goes away.  No one is going to hold this against Vancouver.  Except, you know, for the fact that they stuck thousands of drunken fans in one outside area to watch the game on a jumbo screen … didn’t that kinda have Riot Waiting To Happen written all over it, win or lose?  I don’t think they’ll be doing that next time.

I understand why the mayor and other city officials might be upset; they HAVE to be upset.  They’re conditioned to be upset.  Politicians are compelled to feel whatever it is the majority of their constituents feel.  But, anyone who’s not a politician, or a business owner whose store just got looted the fuck out, I don’t want to hear what you have to say.

I won’t accept your Holier Than Thou stance on things you don’t understand.  You can sit there behind your computers, wagging your finger at the heartbroken, angry citizens around you, but you’re not going to convince me of anything except that you forgot what it’s like to be a fan.

To be passionate about something.  To care so deeply that just yelling and screaming and booing aren’t enough to express the rage you’re feeling.  This carnal uprising, instigated by a single spark:  the game is over, everyone is dazed and upset, wandering listlessly through the streets; then someone throws a beer bottle, it crashes against the hood of a car.  Soon, another bottle and another bottle, until the rest of the herd is joining in on the ephemeral joys of taking out their frustration on whatever and whoever stands in their way.

No, I’m not going to condemn the people of Vancouver who participated in last night’s riots.  In the heat of the moment, people are capable of just about every unthinkable act.  I blame those people not involved, those casting their ire on the troublemaking few:  you hold just as much of the blame.  You hold your city to a higher standard for reasons undeserved.  Then, when you realize Vancouver is just like every other city – with feelings and emotions and pent-up frustration – you try to pull the “We’re Better Than This” card.  I’m sorry, but you’re not.  You’re no better than Detroit or Los Angeles or any of those insane soccer cities over in Europe.

And, you know what?  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Loosen up that tie and uproot that stick from your ass, Vancouver.  Join us in the depraved world of sports fandom.  Sometimes, it gets a little messy, but that’s nothing a few cold ones can’t help you to forget.

Seattle Needs Pro Hockey

As we approach Game 7 tonight in Vancouver, my interest in the sport of hockey is at its highest point.

That’s probably a good thing, because hey, since I don’t watch the NBA anymore, it’d be nice to fill my winter months with something besides a few football games and a bunch of bad baseball.  But, just because my level of interest is at its highest doesn’t necessarily mean my level of interest is all that HIGH.

In the past, I’ve always been a less-than-casual observer of hockey.  I would only watch during the playoffs, with the vast majority being the Stanley Cup Finals, and even then it was usually just the end of the 3rd period and however many overtimes the two teams decided to tack on.

It’s true, in sports there isn’t anything more exciting than overtime Stanley Cup Finals hockey.

As it stands now, I’m still strictly a Playoff Hockey Guy … but I’m willing to expand.

These playoffs have been outstanding.  Specifically, these playoffs with Vancouver kicking ass and taking names have been truly remarkable.  And it makes me wonder:  what would this kind of playoff hockey look like in Seattle?

Aside from making my single opinion known to the masses, there’s really no point in writing this article until some wealthy saint stands up and gives until it hurts in the form of a state-of-the-art arena that can house both Pro Hockey and Pro Basketball.

Obviously, my already-selfish side wants this to happen so we can bring in The New Sonics and pretend like 2008 never happened.  Well, now my me-first attitude on the subject has expanded to a desire for a hockey team.  A team that can slide into a nice I-5 rivalry with Vancouver.  A team that, hopefully, would develop into a contender just like the Canucks are this year.

Remember when Seattle was a major sports city?  Yeah, that stopped being the case as soon as we lost a major sports franchise.  All the WNBA titles and all the MLS games in the world will never make up for the fact that we don’t have one of the Big Three.  (With a new arena, and) with a Pro Hockey team – even if we didn’t get our Sonics back right away – it would work wonders towards replanting Seattle’s status as a bigtime sports hub.

How you look as a “sports city” is more important than how you act as a “sports city”.  The more inviting you appear, the likelier you are to get teams to move there (or to get leagues to expand there).  Right now, Seattle is as inviting as a sewage treatment plant.  A vastly remodeled Seattle Center arena (my preferred choice), or a brand-spankin’-new Spruce Goose over in Bellevue (a necessary evil I would gladly accept if it meant getting Pro B-ball & Hockey) is the only way Seattle’s going to look good enough in the eyes of the wallets in charge.

I hope someone steps up soon.  I’d like to be rooting for these sports in Seattle before I’m an old fucking man.