POLL RESULTS: It’s dead even between the NHL and the Sonics

Voters were split on whether they are more excited about hockey coming or the NBA implications.

Are people excited about the NHL coming to Seattle? Or are they more excited about what the NHL’s arrival means for the possibilities of the NBA returning to the city? The voters are split.

This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll delved into that question. Seattle was awarded an NHL expansion franchise two weeks ago, and it will begin play in 2021 at a rennovated KeyArena. When the announcement was made there was tremendous enthusiasm from the local hockey community.

However, this area has a greater basketball tradition than hockey tradition, and I noticed some people expressing they were more interested in the implications the NHL’s arrival had for the return of the SuperSonics than in the hockey itself. A big component in the Sonics leaving in the first place was that KeyArena didn’t meat the NBA’s expectations, and the rennovation should put the building more in line with what the NBA wants.

Therefore, I asked the readers whether they were more excited about the arrival of the NHL, or about moving a step closer to the Sonics possibly coming back. Here’s how you voted:

Count it all up and it’s nearly a dead heat, with 51 percent of the voters saying they’re more fired up about what the arena situation means for the possibility of bringing the Sonics back, and 49 percent saying they’re excited about the hockey.

I should also mention I received replies on Twitter where the responders said they were either excited for both or neither. I toyed with the idea of including those as options in the poll, but ultimately decided against it. I’m now thinking I should have included them to help gauge the overall enthusiasm for the arena endeavor as a whole.

There were also multiple responders who said the NHL announcement doesn’t have any implications for the Sonics, because the NBA is never coming back here anyway. I disagree with this take. The NBA is in the business of making money, and if it believes having a franchise in Seattle is going to help the bottom line, that’s what the owners are going to do.

Anyway, I find these results fascinating. As someone who’s been embedded in the local hockey community, I’ve been surrounded by people who have been eagerly anticipating the NHL’s arrival for years. But these results provide some perspective on the local reaction to the NHL coming to Seattle. Especially considering my following is definitely hockey-heavy. It’s possible that if this poll was presented in a more neutral environment the results would tilt further toward the Sonics.

Which I guess is something we shouldn’t be surprised about. Seattle is more of a basketball town than a hockey town, at least for now. I personally believe that will change once local sports fans get a chance to see hockey in person, but we’re going to have to wait until 2021 for that to take effect.

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