Seattle's path to an NHL franchise

Updated: February 17, 2012, 1:30 PM ET
By Craig Custance

If there were any doubts that Seattle has moved to the front of the line for the destination of a relocated NHL team or even for future expansion, they were erased Wednesday when Seattle announced Christopher Hansen's proposal to build a new arena in Seattle's stadium district.

The league has liked Seattle as a possible NHL city but it was lacking two key components -- an arena and an owner.

"It's fair to say professional hockey in the Pacific Northwest is a popular sport, it's been accepted," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in December when I asked him about Seattle as a relocation possibility. "It has a rich and long tradition."

Now it's also one step closer to breaking ground on an NHL-ready arena.