Hockey’s head man says NHL is ‘nowhere near’ giving Seattle a team but this will help

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman says it is nowhere near a decision on getting an NHL team to Seattle, however speaking to Canada’s SportsNet, he does say there is interest.

In the report, he says “They (Seattle) seem to be wanting to build a building there. We’ll see. There is interest, I can confirm, but nothing beyond that.” However, Bettman said that despite the city’s desire to land a team, it won’t happen anytime soon.

Of course, there’s currently no venue to host a team. A renovated KeyArena is one possibility. Right now the Oak View Group has a proposal to expand the 55 year old building. In their memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city, OVG says they can have the Key ready to host a team within 5 years.

Bettman told SportsNet that from the league’s perspective, a building is a major step forward.

“You need to believe that a building is going to come out of the ground,” Bettman told hosts Bob McCown and Damien Cox. “And if not, bad things will happen. This is really jumping ahead because we would have to be in a place where we say ‘OK we want to commit to a franchise in Seattle. Here’s what has to happen, here are the terms of engagement.’”

The Seattle City council still needs to give the okay to the MOU before anything can happen.

And then there’s Chris Hansen’s proposed Seattle Arena in SoDo. Hansen has said his proposal would be privately funded. The proposed KeyArena reno includes using public money.

In a number of commentaries, Q13 Sports Director Aaron Levine has discussed his belief that the Hansen plan is a better deal for the city.

We have reached out to OVG to get their take on Bettman’s statements. Once we hear back, we’ll update our story.

Do you have opinion on the KeyArena proposal, the Seattle City Council is accepting comments on the OVG proposal through Friday, October 6th. Click here to leave your comments.