Seattle Mayor Ed Murray tells NHL city won’t change arena deal for hockey

May 15, 2014, 2:04 PM | Updated: 3:47 pm

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told National Hockey League officials the city will not renegotiate an agreement for a new arena to accommodate pro hockey.

Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine met with Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly last week.

Murray spokesman Jeff Reading confirms a report by KING 5’s Chris Daniels that NHL officials requested the in-person meeting and asked the leaders if they would support changing the Memorandum of Understanding approved last year by the King County and Seattle City Councils.

That agreement with investor Chris Hansen requires Hansen acquire an NBA team before construction can begin on a new arena.

Reading says the mayor is committed to honoring the original agreement, and while he supports the idea of the NHL coming to Seattle, he believes the NBA is needed to make a new arena feasible.

Bettman has shown enthusiasm for the NHL coming to the Seattle-area, but has expressed concerns about the lack of resolution with a new arena. Key Arena is considered unacceptable for hockey because of limited seating, a lack of amenities and poor sight lines.

Hansen and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who have agreed to partially fund construction of a new arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood south of Safeco Field, have said they have no interest in becoming majority owners of an NHL franchise.

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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray tells NHL city won’t change arena deal for hockey