Does Seattle + Gretzky = NHL Franchise?
In the battle for off-season headlines, the NHL will see the NBA's LeBron James and raise them a Wayne Gretzky.
And, as usual every year for every sport, the real shocker would be if these are anything more than placeholders until real news comes along.
Odds are James will stay in Miami, just like the odds are that Seattle still won't be granted an NHL expansion team anytime soon. If James wants max cash, only the Heat can do that. If the Emerald City wants sticks and blades, only a JL Gotrocks willing to take out Chris Hansen can seal the deal.
This, of course, led a story-sniffing talk show host to connect the dots:
Bellevue is to Seattle what Markham is to Toronto. It's across Lake Washington from downtown Seattle, which makes it much closer to Redmond and all those big houses where season-ticket dosh would come out of front pockets.
It's also where NBA wannabe owner Chris Hansen's proposed sports palace isn't.
But Bellevue doesn't have a ready-to-play hockey facility and no one even close to its own 1%er corporate welfare seeker -- or even a serial backroom schemer -- prepared to swallow hard and accept that it'll cost $400million or so to get a local government interested in dipping into the public trough.
That didn't keep the suburban Bellevue Reporter from hitting the North American wires with what's become a semi-annual ritual in the Pacific Northwest's sports sections:
A source close to the situation said talks between Bellevue and suitors for an NHL arena have been ongoing, but the source did not want to go into any particular individuals.
"There are people working on it," the source said.
But no proposals have been turned in, the source said. Were an arena plan to materialize, no Bellevue dollars, not even in the form of bond financing, would be included, the source added. Anything else is a non starter. This position has been echoed in the past by Bellevue officials.
Same tune. Just a different singer. And Gretzky even got an inside look at the circus when the NHL threatened to move the Coyotes from the Phoenix area unless Glendale's city council got religion. It's notable this occurred without Gretzky.
So unless he's found a facility financier -- and if he had, it'd be the worst-kept secret in Seattle -- look for a similar headline in some way, shape, or form to appear in a few months.
Right about the time James renews his commitment to the Miami Heat.