Aug 1st, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


The first Spider-Man cartoon series (ABC, 1967-70) is fondly remembered by the geekerati, not only for its low-budget thrills but for its bold, saucy, spooky music.

You know the theme song, perhaps from its many remakes and cover versions. (It’s the only song the Ramones slowed down when they covered it!)

The background music has been a lot harder to track down.

Among the reasons why:

  • No soundtrack album was made at the time of the original series run.
  • The series had two different production companies, one of which folded after the first season.
  • The animation was produced in New York, but the soundtracks were produced in Toronto (for budget reasons).
  • Nobody held onto any detailed production notes.

Fans eventually figured out that most of the music cue for seasons 2 and 3 came from KPM, a “library music” provider based in London (and now owned by the about-to-be-dismembered EMI).

Once KPM put up a website with samples of its library, these fans sorted out which tracks had been used on Spider-Man, and began to post some of them online.

But that left the season 1 background cues, composed expressly for the show by Ray Ellis and Bob Harris.

As this 2007 story on WFMU’s blog goes, some longtime fans of the show tracked down Ellis in L.A. He told them he’d left the original tapes behind when he moved from New York, but would track them down the next time he went there. Ellis died in 2000, before ever making that trip.

Other fans later reached Harris’s widow, who said she had no idea about the Spider-Man music tapes’ existence.

Not only were the original recordings a dead-end, no M&E tracks (music-and-sound-effects soundtracks, which some studios keep for foreign-language redubbing) were around either. Only the dialogue-heavy final episodes.

Dan O’Shannon, a writer-producer who’s worked on Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family, is another of the ’60s Spider-Man‘s lifelong obsessive fans. O’Shannon’s taken it upon himself to reassemble the first-season cues.

So far he’s posted 34 tracks. He’s mixed and matched sections of the same tunes from different episodes (or different parts of the same episode) to avoid the dialogue.

O’Shannon hasn’t, however, been able (or wanted) to edit out the frequent THWIP! sound effect of Spidey’s web shooters.

Jul 23rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

ichiro large bobblehead, available at halloffamememorabilia.com

  • Well if that isn’t the just about worst thing that could happen, local-baseball-fan-wise. The M’s ship Ichiro to the Damn Yankees, for two triple-A pitching prospects. Please sell this team now.
  • (Here’s a thorough overview of his illustrious career as compiled by SportsPress NW.)
  • Frank Rich reminds us that if America is really “in decline,” its either the fifth or eighth such “decline” in the past six decades, depending on how you count ’em.
  • A self described “conservative Republican” moves to Canada and realizes “I don’t see universal health care as an evil thing anymore.”
  • Monica Guzman believes the phrase “I don’t know” is due to die off, as more of the world’s knowledge becomes a simple web search away. I’m not so sure. Seems to me there’s tons each of us doesn’t know about. At least there’s tons I don’t know about. (Though, when I answer a question with “I don’t know,” people still tend to respond by simply repeating the question in greater detail.)
  • In-state tuition at Washington’s “public” universities could top $20,000 by decade’s end.
  • Peet’s Coffee isn’t Seattle-owned anymore. (Did you know it had been Seattle-owned, specifically by the original Starbucks founders?)
  • Alexander Cockburn, R.I.P.: The longtime Village Voice and Nation columnist and CounterPunch.org cofounder was, at his best, probably America’s most lucid leftist writer. At his worst, he defended climate-change deniers, wholesale Israel-bashers, and French neo-fascist Marine Le Pen.
Jul 18th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

wikimedia commons, via komo-tv

  • Drugs? Guns? Codeine pain pills? Forget it. What U.S. Customs is really cracking down against on the Canadian border is a bigger threat to America than all those combined. Beware the dreaded candy Kinder Eggs.
  • Starbucks apparently has an image problem in NYC.
  • How to get shoppers away from dot-coms and back to the malls? How ’bout wine bars, yoga classes, craft-making groups, and jeans stores with special butt-view mirrors?
  • Outside estimates put the cost of a spiffed-up Seattle waterfront near a cool billon. That’s a heckuva lot for what’s essentially just another group of “world class” windswept plazas (and we’ve already got more than we need of those). I still say: scrap most of that, bring back the Waterfront Streetcar, and put an amusement park at Pier 62-63.
  • The big winner in the demise of Washington’s state liquor stores? Oregon’s state liquor stores.
  • Deja Vu’s Dreamgirls really doesn’t want to leave SoDo, not even for a big buyout by the arena developers.
  • In the immortal words of Mr. Costello, I don’t wanna go to Chelsea.
  • Link Light Rail is three years old and more popular than ever.
  • Macklemore’s new pro-gay-marriage hiphop track is getting quite the national attention.
  • Boeing wants more engineers and more training for future engineers. Oh, and it also wants more Federal money.
Jul 18th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

There was a competition going on for short films about Seattle. Some of the entrants (at least they seem like they could be) are showing up online. F’rinstance, here’s a poetic ode to the city by Riz Rollins; and here’s Peter Edlund’s Love, Seattle (based on the opening to Woody Allen’s Manhattan and dedicated to team-and-dream stealer Clay Bennett).

Jul 16th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Ever feel like life’s one big choose-your-adventure book and you’re hopeless stuck on the wrong path? Then enjoy these unhappy endings at “You Chose Wrong.”
  • It turns out that with NBC taking full control of MSNBC.com (it already wholly owns MSNBC TV), some or all of the website’s 80 Redmond-based editorial positions will move to the New York region. Just what I need: more laid off journalists in the Seattle area competing for the same scarce jobs.
  • The teases of an Almost Live! reunion have been partly revealed. The new venture, The (206), will be an online, not broadcast, series. (This probably means short self-contained skits, not half-hour package episodes.) The only announced performers so far are John Keister, Pat Cashman, and Cashman’s son Chris.
  • Got construction or construction-management knowhow but not a job? Do as Gordon Lightfoot said and be Alberta bound.
  • When sunscreen is outlawed in Tacoma schools, only outlaws won’t have face blisters.
  • KPLU remembers the Seattle (specifically, Cornish College) roots of avant-music giant John Cage.
  • Kitty Wells, 1920-2012: The original “queen of country music” had a rawer, less subdued sound and image than Patsy Cline (the only female country singer urban hipsters have heard of, still). Wells’ biggest hit, “(It Wasn’t God Who Made) Honky Tonk Angels,” was an answer song to Hank Thompson’s “The Wild Side of Life.” Today, only country historians remember the latter.
  • The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only “online newspaper,” might disappear by the end of the year. The real Daily, thankfully, is here to stay.
  • Huffington Post blogger Spencer Critchley (which would be a great character name for a romance-novel hero!) says Romney’s guys are foolishly running a TV-style campaign in the Internet age. By this, Critchley isn’t talking about ad expenditures so much as the operating mentality, imagining that a candidate’s superficial “brand image” is all that matters.
May 24th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • What’s the world’s most prolific retail brand today? 7-Eleven! And, after a few years of retreating from parts of the U.S., it’s expanding like mad.
  • Coming next month and tons more exciting than any ol’ glass gallery, it’s Seattle Center’s first Seattle Science Festival! Hear Steven Hawking’s voice box live and in person!
  • Nearly 40 percent of Puget Sound homeowners owe more money on their homes than the homes are now worth. Nearly nine percent owe twice as much money as their homes are worth (twice the national average).
  • Anthony Robinson explains “how to talk politics with religious voters.”
  • How does the Seattle LGBTQLSMFT pride parade thank the politicians who helped pass marriage equality in Wash. state? By charging them almost twice as much money to appear in the parade as it charges corporate entrants.
  • Amazon’s quitting the virulently far-right lobbying group ALEC, and will make its warehouses more hospitable workplaces.
  • Oregon native nations say they don’t mind high schools using Indian sports-team names, and that they do mind when PC whites try to ban such names.
  • Comcast/NBC Universal might buy up all of MSNBC.com. The web site is still half owned by Microsoft (and still has a major editorial presence in Bellevue), even after NBC took full ownership of the same-named cable channel.
  • The TV networks would really, really like Dish Network to not offer an “ad skipping” feature on its DVRs.
  • Jonathan Chiat parses the “conservative fantasy history of civil rights,” in which the likes of Ronald Reagan and Strom Thurmond were supposedly not the racists they really were.
  • Yes, a sexually demeaning image of a woman is still wrong even if the woman being insulted is anti-choice.
  • Single-load “laundry pods,” delicious but deadly.
  • The province of Quebec now demands that all political protests get official police approval first. Protesters immediately protested the law, in a big way.
Apr 28th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

joybra.com, via seattlepi.com

  • Dept. of Things You Never Knew You Needed: UW business students have designed a bra with a pocket for an iPhone.
  • Seattle’s (the nation’s? the world’s?) longest running serialized stage play, the Asian American-centric Sex in Seattle series, ends after 12 years with episode 20, opening this weekend.
  • Amazon’s quarterly profits are 35 percent lower than a year ago. To Wall Street, that’s seen as good news somehow.
  • The Sacramento Kings’ arena deal is apparently dead. The team might or might not be put up for sale any week now. Seattle has a wannabe majority owner, a perfectly functional arena, and the land and initial plans for a new arena.
  • Vancouver punk legend Joey “Shithead” Kiethley sez he’ll run next year for a seat in B.C.’s provincial legislature. He’s done this twice before, on Green Party tickets. But this time he’ll run on the ticket of the New Democrats (Canada’s official national “opposition” party). He’s putting into practice his old motto, “Talk – Action = Zero.”
  • Gay Divorcee Dept.: A B.C. judge has ruled that a split-up lesbian couple has to split their jointly owned sperm-bank deposit.
  • Are outspoken homophobes really gay but suppressing it? All I know is for me, other men’s bodies are like eggplant casseroles. I don’t wanna eat ’em but I don’t mind if you do.
  • Will the Arab world need a full-scale “cultural revolution” before women have rights there?
  • Nutella: not as “healthy” as some consumers apparently thought.
  • The story about Egypt legalizing sex between widowers and their dead wives? A complete hoax.
  • In an interview promoting her new film Hysteria (about the first electric sex tools for women and the “medical” excuses advertised for them), Maggie Gyllenhaal talks about why there are so few emotionally powerful sex scenes in U.S. movies. My theory: Most sex scenes in mainstream films are escapist in nature. Many serve as breaks from the plot, like the songs in many musicals. These include scenes choreographed to emphasize the woman’s responses. To use such a scene to reveal a character’s personality, emotions, and vulnerabilities, to show a female character with her sense of public decorum stripped away, is a rare feat.
  • Did Romney only tell 10 major lies last week?
Apr 23rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Margarita flavored Bud Light: sign of the apocalypse #6 or #7?
  • Winning bids for the state liquor stores (or rather, for the right to apply for licenses, negotiate leases, and take over inventory at the stores) are now in. Individual winners have apparently not yet been posted anywhere, but the store at 12th Avenue and East Pine Street went for a cool half million. The state’s total take (should all the sales go through): over $30 million, more than four times estimates reported just last Friday.
  • Yesterday, we mentioned how Deluxe Junk, the lovely vintage everything store that’s one of the last remnants of “Fremont funk.” faced a sudden eviction by the Masonic lodge that owns its building. Apparently there’s a settlement; alas, Deluxe Junk will still leave the premises, at the end of June.
  • The Real Change folks will get their protest camp in Westlake Park after all.
  • One little-publicized event at the big Space Needle anniversary gala: a protest by Needle restaurant workers.
  • The Canucks have made sure there won’t be riots in the Vancouver streets this June.
  • Here’s a long, loving profile of ex-Seattleite and comix genius Lynda Barry.
  • Google and Facebook: They’re hot now, but could they stumble as computing goes mobile?
  • Author Michael J. Sandel places blame for the market-ization of almost all of western society. He says the economists did it.
  • Paul Krugman blasts Romney, assuredly not for the last time.
  • A Georgetown prof really dislikes the Facebook-spawned overuse of the verb “Like.”
  • Toby Litt in Granta wonders whether long-form literature can hold an audience, or even be considered relevant, in an age of multitasking and incessant distraction. I say bah. Folks who can finish umpteen-level video games or watch entire TV-show seasons in one weekend can enjoy a story of a few hundred pages.
  • Sorry, but I can’t trust any list of the “ten most harmful novels for aspiring writers” that excludes Bukowski.
  • The top black women’s magazine hired a white guy as managing editor. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, that he turned out to be a not-so-secret racist wingnut.
  • Steven Pearlstein reminds you that some politicians actually want you to be turned off from politics. Remember: Not voting = voting a straight right-wing ticket.
  • Making stuff in China will cease being cheap sooner or later. China’s other outsourcing advantages might remain (lax environmental enforcement, autocratic government, brutal suppression of dissent).
  • TV ratings, both broadcast and cable, are way down, especially among younger viewers, and especially in terms of “real time” viewing (i.e., without DVRs; i.e., with the commercials). The hardcore TV haters will naturally ignore this, and will continue to insist that Everyone Except Them is a vidiot sheeple.
Apr 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Even I, in my near-encyclopedic knowledge of classic TV, could only guess nine out of a group of 15 modern and vintage series represented by three iconic images each.
  • My ol’ UW Daily staffmate Pete Callaghan has a zinger accusing the Mariners of calculated hyprocisy about the basketball/hockey arena scheme. Callaghan says M’s bosses “seek to hog the pubic arena trough.”
  • Lisa Arnold at Crosscut believes nonprofits that serve poor people ought to more actively pressure local governments to do more for these folks.
  • In the whiter but not safer suburbs, there’s a new robbery shtick going down: (1) Break into a car in a movie-theater parking lot. (2) Fish out the car’s registration papers. (3) Go to the listed (and probably unoccupied) house and rob it.
  • The scheme to essentially stifle the use of Seattle Community College campuses as protest sites? Scuttled, at least for now.
  • All this Internet data you’re getting these days is stored on and fed from mighty “server farm” installations. The ones around here run on clean, nonpolluting hydro power. Except when they don’t.
  • The big book publishers and Amazon are at less than palsy-walsy terms again.
  • Meanwhile, various parties have tried to set up indie e-book sites that would sell the big publishers’ titles as well as indie product. But the big publishers insist on using restrictive copy-protection codes, which require costly technical resources on the server end, which these small e-tail operations can’t afford.
  • The Republican Presidential nominating race is over. The sincerely bigoted demagogue is gone, leaving the out-of-touch smarmy zillionaire who’s pretended to be a bigoted demagogue. Get ready for the Super PAC-driven, ultra-negative attack ads and the whispered “dog whistle” scare tactics to begin in 5, 4, 3….
  • Elsewhere in politics-of-hate-land, one of the authors of the “Defense of Marriage (a.k.a. anti-gay-marriage) Act” has come out as a lesbian and has renounced her past public stance.
  • Economist Jonathan Schlefler claims the “invisible hand,” 18th century writer Adam’s Smith’s concept of a natural equilibrium that settles in when free markets are free to do as they will, does not exist. In macroeconomic circles, this is akin to Copernicus saying the sun doesn’t orbit the earth.
  • Some folks imagine themselves to be so close to the celebrities they follow in the media, that they see nothing untoward about asking them to be prom dates.
  • The City of Vancouver Engineering Department, which apparently has jurisdiction on all street and sidewalk use there, has banned bagpipe buskers (Say that five times fast!). The excuse: they’re too noisy. The Scottish-descended mayor, who got sworn into office in a kilt, vows to overturn the rule.
Apr 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • Seattle voters will have the chance to bring library service back from several years’ worth of drastic cuts. You know where I stand on this.
  • Meanwhile, in the land of Jorge Juis Borges’ surreal library stories, the Argentine government has banned all book imports. The lame excuse is that they could contain dangerous levels of lead. Ebooks and their reading machines, and domestic reprints of foreign books, aren’t affected.
  • The local Catholic Archdiocese, once a liberal “social gospel” bastion, has turned hard homophobic.
  • Northwest fishermen worry about Japanese tsunami debris showing up in their waters. Talk about your deadliest catch.
  • An activist group called Seattle’s greatest family-owned bakery an unfair employer, and staged a protest. Loyal customers staged a counter-protest. Cookies were tossed. Literally.
  • The two African Americans who publicly claimed Seattle Police had stopped them for no good reason, got stopped by Seattle Police again.
  • A dead orca in Washington waters has caused some to sing “Blame Canada.”
  • The UW invented kidney dialysis. Now it’s working on what might replace it.
  • The rise in cable-TV subscribers becoming former cable-TV subscribers has attracted even the financial community. One analyst hints there’d be even more cord-cutting, except that many folks are keeping cable subscriptions for Internet access.
  • The alleged “liberal media” in a “liberal state” sure don’t seem to like Jay Inslee.
  • We’d earlier mentioned that print newspaper ad revenues had sunk to 1984 levels. Someone took those figures, adjusted ’em for inflation, and concluded newsprint ad money is actually at its lowest level since 1950. (The U.S. population then was about half what it is now.)
  • Young adults aren’t just not reading print newspapers. They’re also driving a lot less and biking a lot more.
  • I’m pretty sure the only people who read the Seattle Times editorials anymore are the bloggers who righteously trash them.
  • “In Russia, a lack of men forces women to settle for less.”
  • How can something that barely has 10 employees and has not apparently made a cent in profits be worth a billion dollars?
Mar 26th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • As a treat for those of you who actually read these things (and I know there are at least a few of you out there), here’s the original version of the song that was at the center of last night’s Mad Men season premiere. It’s “Zou Bisou Bisou.” It was originally recorded in 1960 by Gillian Hills. One of the stars of the French “ye ye” genre, she also appeared in the landmark British films Beat Girl, Blow Up, and A Clockwork Orange.
  • Questionable medical study of the day: Somebody says regularly eating chocolate can make you thinner.
  • Here’s the site for the folks who want to bring the Seattle monorail project back from the dead. (By sticking with the previous monorail proponents’ planned Ballard to West Seattle route, they’re also inheriting its high cost, requiring two major all-new bridges.)
  • Here’s WashDOT’s CGI video of how the new 520 bridge will look. Without, you know, the highway noise or smell.
  • And here’s what Amazon’s proposed three new high rises would look like.
  • “Unemployed Nation” is a series of “hearings,” in which the mayor, city council, and others will “listen to the men and women who have lost their livelihoods and more.” The sessions are Friday afternoon at the UW’s Kane Hall and Saturday afternoon at City Hall.
  • There’s a new site up helping locals find affordable rental housing.
  • The fired transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant from Vancouver would like you to think of her as “a woman—with a history.” (The protest petition is now online.)
  • How to make money despite being in the news business: A Houston Chronicle society reporter was outed for moonlighting as a stripper. Apparently at least as much for the money as for any undercover writing gig (though she has made a pseudonymous blog about her stripping life).
  • Under the British common-law heritage, prostitution per se has been quasi-legal in Canada. But businesses facilitating prostitution have been banned. Now, the province of Ontario’s highest court has approved legalizing brothels. The common-sense reason: it’s better for a sex worker “to work indoors, in a location under her control.”
  • Another country where hooking is legal, but making money from other people’s hooking isn’t: France. That’s where the ex-Intl. Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn, already disgraced from sexual assault charges, has been accused of involvement in a pimping ring based at luxury hotels. (I know people who believe those IMF/World Bank guys have always been pimps for the corporate elite, but this is something different.)
  • Big Brother Dept.: A public school district in Brazil is issuing school-uniform T shirts with computer chips sewn in, capable of tracking every student’s every move.
  • If you believe the New Yorker, the most influential and sleaziest newspaper in Britain isn’t owned by Murdoch.
  • Even before the Legislature revived state tax breaks for filmmakers, one feature project (from a local writer-director) was already underway. And it’s got such great stars—Lee Majors! Gary Busey! Margot Kidder! Edward Furlong! Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch! I tell you, I sense a date with Oscar!

Feb 17th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • King Street Station isn’t just getting “restored.” It’s getting architecturally-appropriate new stuff added to it.
  • The basketball/hockey arena proposal announced Thursday is exactly as I, and many others, had predicted. All the money will come from private sources, and from city/county bonds to be paid back by arena revenues. Now comes the long wait, on three fronts. The city and county councils have to sign on. The project has to be designed. And it won’t get built until an NBA or NHL team (preferably both) actually come here.
  • On a related note, Aaron Levine at KCPQ says it’s still OK to hate NBA boss David Stern.
  • A lonely expanse of lawn on Beacon Hill is slated to become a neighbor-run park dedicated to edible plants. Welcome to the “food forest.”
  • Lisa Rochon at the Toronto Globe and Mail makes “The Business Case for Beautiful Libraries.” Yes, she mentions Seattle’s.
  • KIRO-TV.com headline: “Marysville teachers protest for statewide budget cuts.” Uh, they’re actually protesting against the cuts. This must be the same sort of sentence construction as the oft-heard talk about folks staging “a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy.”
  • Now we know why Michael Nesmith wasn’t on last year’s Monkees reunion tour, and hadn’t performed many solo gigs lately either. He’d been slowly going blind. But he’s cured now. (It was undiagnosed cataracts.)
  • Today’s Republicans aren’t even trying to get the votes of non-dittoheads anymore.
  • In the 1990s it was e. coli in Odwalla apple juice. Now it’s arsenic in “organic brown rice syrup,” whatever that is.
  • Mars Inc. will impose maximum calorie counts on its candy bars. Think of it as a way to reduce product sizes, keep the prices the same, and call it a “health” move.

candy wrapper archive via aol/lemondrop.com

Feb 3rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Update #1: The Komen Foundation backed down from its previous blackballing of Planned Parenthood cancer screening services—or did it?

Update #2: In yesterday’s rant about the Komen fiasco, I mentioned how the organization had attracted negative comments even before this. But I failed to provide a good link to those previous criticisms.

Here’s such a link. It goes to the trailer for Pink Ribbons, Inc., a National Film Board of Canada documentary investigating the group. It opened today in Canadian theaters; a Stateside run starts in March.

Director Lea Pool’s film (based on Samantha King’s 2006 book) had, of course, been shot, edited, and scheduled long before this week’s right-wing cave-in by Komen management.

The film’s gist: Komen management allegedly cares a lot more about promoting itself, attracting corporate partners, selling branded merchandise, and, of course, raising money than it is about detection, treatment, or “the cure.”

All-new item: A Seattle gun merchant announced a Komen-authorized pink handgun. Komen management now denies any authorization, involvement, or even pre-knowledge of this.

Jan 30th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • Forget the old standards of celebrity. What really matters is how often somebody’s name appears in crossword puzzles!
  • Update: Americans for Prosperity Washington didn’t even get a wrist-slap from the state Public Disclosure Commission. As we mentioned previously, the Koch brothers-affiliated outfit spent a bunch of money running attack ads against Dem legislators. They then tried to skirt PDC rules about identifying its funding and sources, by claiming it was just doing a “grassroots” “voter education” drive.
  • Will the last prof to leave the UW please turn out the lights?
  • Those lovely small private planes that brighten our skies also help to pollute ’em. They’re the last vehicles still fueled by leaded gas.
  • The former BMW Seattle dealership complex, a huge swath of prime Pike/Pine real estate, is at risk for foreclosure.
  • Intiman Theater: Is it a goner for good, or will it rise from the dead (like approximately 90 Shakespeare characters)?
  • The newest indie music label business model, via Vancouver: no CDs. Just downloads and vinyl.
  • Weird-research-study story of the day: If you believe a report from an obscure Canadian university’s psych department, “low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies.”
  • First lesson in “unleashing the power of introverts“: Don’t make ’em press the flesh to promote their own books.
  • Political figures in India would really like all the Internet companies in the world to pre-censor everything on the web.
  • For a guy who wants to deny horrible things put in print under his name, Ron Paul sure has a lot of close mega-racist pals.
  • A Spanish judge wants to prosecute some of the worst surviving criminals-against-humanity from the Franco dictatorship days. So far, the only person being prosecuted is him.
  • The founder of Foxconn, that group of Chinese factories where a helluva lot of the world’s consumer electronic goods are made, spoke at a fundraiser for the Taipei Zoo. He reportedly “joked” about his company’s workforce as “one million animals.”
Jan 4th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

1917 seattle metropolitans; from seattlehockey.net

Could Seattle actually get a National Hockey League team before it gets another NBA basketball team?

That’s what CBC Hockey Night in Canada commentator Elliotte Friedman seems to believe.

Friedman notes that the NHL wants to stop collectively owning the fiscally imperiled Phoenix Coyotes.

Friedman also says one of the top Coyote contenders is a Chicago minor-league hockey owner, who’s helping assemble land for a new arena in Seattle’s Sodo area, just south of Safeco Field.

Seattle’s hopes are supported by a move in the Legislature to somehow finagle state support for a new arena during this upcoming session.

What Seattle’s got in its favor:

  • A large regional TV market. (Seattle would have the only U.S. NHL franchise west of Denver and north of San Jose. It’s already the second biggest U.S. metro area without an NHL team, after Houston.)
  • Several rich potential investors.
  • A natural rivalry situation with the Vancouver Canucks.
  • A populace that’s supported minor league hockey for several decades (including current junior teams in Kent and Everett), and which includes many CBC hockey viewers.

What Seattle’s not got in its favor:

  • No past NHL heritage; especially when compared to Quebec City, Friedman’s other pick for a likely new Coyotes’ home. The Seattle Metropolitans of the old Pacific Coast Hockey Association did win the Stanley Cup back in 1917. But compared to the former Quebec Nordiques’ fan memories, the Metropolitans are a mere trivia answer.
  • No suitable place to play in town. Ex-Sonics owner Barry Ackerley made sure KeyArena would be only barely hockey-capable; its awkward hockey configuration requires temporarily removing the entire southern lower seating area. Quebec City already has the ex-Nordiques rink and is building a new bigger one, even without a team to play in it.

Despite these reservations, Friedman suggests it might be in the league’s financial best interest to place the Coyotes in Seattle, ready or not, and then award an expansion team to Quebec.

So, where would any Seattle Ex-Coyotes play, until a new specially built arena is ready (at least two seasons)?

  • There’s KeyArena, such as it is.
  • There’s the Tacoma Dome, which hosted minor league hockey from 1991-95. It seats a good 17,000 in its hockey configuration, though sightlines can be darn poor in places.
  • There are the junior-hockey rinks in Kent and Everett. The latter seats 10,000 people, about as many as KeyArena’s ice configuration.
  • And, of course, there’s Paul Allen’s Rose Garden in Portland.

My own favored option would be to simply expand KeyArena to the south; even though that would displace its current main tenants (the WNBA Seattle Storm and Seattle U. men’s basketball) for one season apiece.

But if an all new building is deemed really necessary, it should be (1) in Seattle proper (like the current Sodo arena scheme is) and (2) built with as little state or municipal subsidy as possible.

As a postscript, here’s a circa mid-2000s essay from the fan site SeattleHockey.net, detailing past attempts to bring the NHL here.

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