SEATTLE — We start by putting our spotlight on this Wednesday.
It could be just an ordinary day. Or our heads will be spinning from the legitimate possibility that the NHL will be in Seattle this fall.
Until then, I have zero expectations. But if it happens, accountability is key.
On Tuesday night, the Glendale, Ariz., City Council will vote on a proposal to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in town. Most believe the vote could go either way. Then again, barring any changes in the next 48 hours, that proposal includes a provision that the potential ownership group never agreed to. In fact, the ownership group has called that provision — a five-year “out” clause for Glendale – a non-starter in negotiations for the past month.
So basically, we’re watching a dangerous game of chicken between Glendale and the Coyotes’ potential owners.
Still, as a somewhat jaded Seattle fan, I won’t be surprised if one side swerves at the last minute – and saves the team.
But if it doesn’t happen? Get ready for Wednesday – when all the talk will be about the NHL and Seattle.
More than anything – the NHL can gain a lot of credibility by sticking to its Tuesday night deadline. We’ve been jerked around by the NBA too often recently with delayed deadlines, all which allowed Sacramento more time to keep the Kings. We’re about to see whether the NHL – unlike the NBA – can live up to its tough rhetoric.
After all, quoting NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly “we either get certainty in Glendale by July 2, or we immediately pursue our other options outside of Glendale. We have already gone past the date we were comfortable accommodating in the first place.”
I challenge the NHL to live up to its word. After four years of a mess in Arizona – I hope the league pulls the plug if there’s no clear deal in Glendale by Tuesday night.
Because anything short of that will make sports fans here even more cynical than they already are.
Personally, I think hockey is a sleeping giant in Seattle. That ultimately, our sports community will openly and willingly embrace an NHL team. Combined with a new rivalry with Vancouver, and the atmosphere of games in general, the NHL in Seattle would be a raging success.
But we’ve been swindled too many times by that other league to expect any premature celebration. Even Wednesday, the most optimistic sports fan in our area will remain leery.
So for now, I have no expectations. On Wednesday, that might change.
And I can only hope that if Seattle goes from being the NHL’s “Plan B” to “Plan A,” everyone involved, from the league, to the new ownership group, to our local government is ready – has answers – and please, most of all – won’t let us down.