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How much support for the NHL is there in the Pacific Northwest?

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Research shows that there's potential for an NHL team to find success in Seattle.

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While past Seattle Sonics fans and angry taxpayers discuss the potential for a professional basketball team to locate in Seattle's Sodo District, the voice of area hockey fans has gone somewhat unnoticed, writes The Seattle Times.

The city is looking into welcoming back basketball, but could it also be capable of bringing in a professional hockey team?

"It's probably the best market in the United States that does not have a hockey team demographically," Chicago investor Don Levin said when he publicly stated his interest in bringing an NHL team to Seattle.

There's already strong support for two junior hockey clubs in Washington. The Seattle Thunderbirds and the Everett Silvertips have solid attendance of 4,200 and 5,200 respectively, according to The Seattle Times.

A research firm conducted a survey that compares the interest of hockey to that of Phoenix, who have the Coyotes and have approximately 10 percent of the population interested in the NHL. While that appears low, the interest is higher than that of soccer before the Sounders came to Seattle and greatly boosted the interest in that sport.

Finally, there's a large grassroots following in Seattle, which ranks No. 12 nationally in adult hockey league participation, according to The Seattle Times.