Here’s what Seattle’s arena will look like for an NHL franchise (PHOTOS)

The potential owners of a Seattle NBA franchise released some tantalizing images of a their potential new arena on Thursday, including what the setup might potentially be if a potential NHL team joins the hoops franchise as a tenant. Potentially.

Via the Sonics Arena home page, arena project money man Chris Hansen wrote:

As can be seen in the pictures above, as with most NBA/NHL buildings we have designed the seats behind the backboard/goal to retract backwards and the first few rows of courtside seating can be removed to accommodate hockey's larger playing surface and dasher board. The net result puts hockey fans even closer to the action, including our pocket suites. Given the size of the playing surface and speed of the game, we also think the Sonic Rings will prove to be one of the most unique and valued viewing experiences in the game.

What are “pocket suites” you ask? According to Hansen, they’re lower-level suites located near the ice that “give direct suite access to the suite holders without creating an unsightly gap in the camera view of the lower seating level.”

Which sounds awesome. Expensive as all heck, but awesome.

You can get a sense of how close to the action they are from this image of the basketball setup.

Here’s another gander at the ice:

Not pictured: Benches, penalty boxes, Zamboni entrance and exit ... you know, the little things.

Also not pictured: One of the wackiest innovations for the building, the “Sonic Rings” in the upper deck.

As the owners put it: “The upper seating bowl is dramatically shortened and the top rows are replaced with three stacked balconies (what we have dubbed the “Sonic Rings”) that slant inward toward center court as they stack.”

Take a gander at this 360-degree look at the Sonics arena:

Finally, here’s what the outside will look like:

OK, who’s ready for the Seattle Sasquatch? Because we are.

Check out more coverage of the Sonics arena from our Y! buddies, Ball Don't Lie.

s/t Brian Palmer.

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