This sad fable is classic Portland. Maybe someday....

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May 12Liked by Jeff Smith

I remember going to 2 Blazers' games in the same season in the late 1990's where the ushers passed out stubby pencils & questionnaires asking questions such as: Do you like hockey? Would you go to NHL games? How many games a year would you attend? How much would you be willing to pay for tickets? I answered hopefully.

I figured this was the Vulcans vetting potential interest in hockey. I also inferred that since nothing ever came from it, that the numbers from the questionnaires weren't good.

I always wondered if Allen & Crew had brought an NHL team here, whether it would have succeeded or whether it would have been re-homed by now. We never got the opportunity to find out.

I do remember the flirtation with the Penguins & Coyotes. I never realized that Allen had money in escrow for the Pens. That really turned out well for Pittsburgh & bad for PDX.

Ultimately, the biggest "What-if" loss for Portland was the failure of the Delta Dome referenda in the mid-1960's. Had one of those passed, Portland would have had the first domed stadium on the West Coast and would have gotten an NFL franchise almost a decade before Seattle. That would have forever altered the sporting, cultural & economic fortunes of this city in an amazingly-positive way. Oh, the vagaries of a few thousand votes...

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May 12Liked by Tyson Alger

Love the Friday Harbor shout out!!

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Too bad that hockey never came to Portland. I suspect it would be much more successful than baseball. The arena already exists and it is a winter sport which would be better attended than a summer sport.

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Tyson, this one hurts, almost as much as a ruptured Achilles, but great story. Portland Penguins coulda brought the Cup back to Portland.

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A friend told me this story years ago and wasn’t sure if it was actually true. Thanks for digging it up.

I was in a meeting with a guy 5-6 years ago and when his colleague mentioned I was from Portland the guy smiled and said “Winterhawks!” Told him I played* hockey and he mentioned he just became sole owner of the Coyotes. Unfortunately had to run right after that but left hoping his excitement about Portland meant he was looking to move them here.

Was telling this recently to a yotes fan, which led me to look up the guy again. He sold his majority stake a few years ago and is now suspended by the NHL: https://arizonasports.com/story/3517108/nhl-suspends-coyotes-minority-owner-after-arrest-for-strangulation-charge/amp/

I also just read their ability to play games in Tempe has a good behavior clause. Maybe this will get them banned from that rink and they’ll finally need to move. SLC?


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