Will the NHL actually be embraced by Seattle?
Seattle isn’t exactly perceived as your run-of-the-mill hockey town, like Philadelphia or Detroit or other cities with worse economies than us. Many of the cliches we’re associated with — tech bros, lattes, sensitive hipsters — don’t entirely lend themselves to hockey culture.
Or at least that’s the concern from an article called “Would Seattle Drink Coffee From Its Stanley Cup?” in the New York Times, which KIRO Radio’s John Curley was not a fan of. “It seems like the guy has decided that there are so many cliches about Seattle that he has to slip them into this story about hockey.”
Reading like a Seattle cliche word search, the article investigates this strange new land called Seattle and wonders whether hockey will ever be embraced here. Co-host Tom Tangney thought it had a bit of a point.
“The way we think of hockey, we think of them as bruising, busting hockey teams, man-of-the-street types,” Tom said. “And how is that going to fit into a tech loving, latte-sipping city? That’s basically the thrust behind the article.”
Seattle’s team will become the NHL’s 32nd franchise, and is expected to start playing in 2021 after an $850 million upgrade to Key Arena. The name will be decided sometime in spring 2019.
While the article does conclude that hockey would survive here, it attributes much of the enthusiasm to that alien invading force, otherwise known as east coast transplants. When they’re not complaining about our pizza or delis, they’re yearning for the hockey culture they left behind, and that enthusiasm can be contagious, assuming there are enough of them. This is not to mention the Canadian transplants as well.
Between that infusion, and the enthusiasm for local minor league and junior teams like the Thunderbirds, it seems like hockey has real chance here. More than 25,000 season ticket deposits were sold in the first hour they became available, after all.
As to whether Seattle will drink over-priced coffee from the Stanley Cup, let’s maybe not get too ahead of ourselves. Coffee probably wouldn’t taste good from metal, anyway.
Do you think hockey will be embraced here?