VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It was only just made official on Tuesday that Seattle would be getting an NHL team, but it seems people in B.C. and Washington state already can’t wait for the hockey battle to begin.
A new survey from Insights West shows about 90 per cent of people polled on both sides of the border are excited about the I-5 rivalry.
While there is excitement building, not everyone appears to be happy about an expansion team in the Emerald City.
The poll also suggests 40 per cent of hockey fans in B.C. think adding a 32nd club to the league will water down the quality of play and, worse still, reduce the Canucks’ chances of winning the Stanley Cup.
Meantime, the survey has found a majority of fans in Metro Vancouver are willing to cross the border to see a game on the other team’s home ice.
Fifty-six per cent of Metro Vancouverites say they’d do it, while 55 per cent of those in Seattle say they would make the trek.
Insights West has also found seven of 10 respondents in the U.S. think the new team — which has yet to be named — will be able to replicate the success of the Vegas Golden Knights, the most recent expansion team which went to the Stanley Cup Final last season.
British Columbians are not as optimistic, with only 20 per cent of them saying they think the Vancouver Canucks will do that well.
Seattle: an odd choice for the NHL?
Reaction continues to pour in from the hockey world following Tuesday’s announcement.
Russ Farwell is the General Manager of the Seattle Thunderbirds, and used to be the GM of the Philadelphia Flyers.
He admits the choice of a team in Seattle may be odd to some.
“We don’t have the grassroots, it’s kind of the last place in the U.S. to really turn on the hockey, and that’s strictly a function of we don’t have a lot of ice rinks and so there isn’t a lot of kids getting the opportunity to participate.”
Thanks to rich owners, people aren’t doubting the new hockey team will do just fine once players hit the ice in the 2021/22 season.
“If you can go to Dallas when there is no hockey and you can go to Florida, to Phoenix, and Nevada, you can certainly come here,” Farwell adds. “There’s money here. We don’t have another winter rival in the market, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be successful.”