Thursday February 26th, 2015

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday that he expects the environmental review for a new basketball and hockey arena to be completed by May 7, reports KING 5 News.

The current proposal for the Seattle arena was first approved by the city council and King County Council in 2012. Delays related to the Environmental Impact Statement for the project have played a significant role in slowing its progress.

Murray also said he would be willing to ask the city council to allow for an NHL team to begin prompt construction of a new facility. The existing Memorandum of Understanding would have to be modified, as it currently allows for public financing and construction only after an NBA team agrees to move to Seattle.

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"I think if done right and we actually got a team, it would be a benefit to this city, financially and culturally," Murray told KING 5. "Obviously that is a real symbol for how excited this region is about sports teams, and I think a basketball team, and a hockey team, would be incredible assets, there is only an upside, for the economy, for city revenue and the cultural life of Seattle."

The NHL denied comment to KING 5 News on Wednesday. Murray met separately with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York last month.

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The NBA has not had a team in Seattle since the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder in 2008.

Following his meeting with Bettman, Murray said the NHL commissioner "recognizes the value" Seattle would bring to a franchise.

Mike Fiammetta

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