Canucks COO Victor de Bonis says NBA would work in Vancouver

Feb 16, 2011, 6:43 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:54 pm

By Brady Henderson

Canucks Chief Operating Officer Victor de Bonis said the speculation of the NBA’s return to Vancouver might be a little premature, but is confident that a professional basketball team would be more successful in Vancouver the second time around.

de Bonis (pictured) joined the Calabro show on Wednesday, the same day a Canadian newspaper victor lgreported that Canucks ownership is interested in buying and relocating the New Orleans Hornets to Vancouver.

“All we’ve really done is have an introductory meeting in New York in mid-January,” de Bonis said in reference to what NBA commisioner David Stern said earlier this week about the possibility of the NBA returning to Vancouver.

“Our ownership group wanted to meet the commissioner and get his thoughts on the league and his experience (of) when we had the team here in Vancouver,” de Bonis said. “I think that’s what really prompted the comment from the commissioner earlier.”

Stern told Bill Simmons of ESPN on Monday that Vancouver is one of several markets that have expressed interest in taking on a relocated NBA team. de Bonis said he was somewhat surprised by Stern’s comments given the limited discussions.

The Hornets were purchased last year by the NBA, which according to Stern, wants to sell the team to an ownership group that will keep it in New Orleans.

“There (is) no shortage of suitors who have contacted us who want to buy the team and take it someplace else,” Stern told Simmons, calling Seattle a “prime” NBA city and listing several others with NBA-ready arenas. “That would not be our first choice at all. That’s not why we stepped in and bought the team.”

Should Vancouver land the Hornets, it would be the second time the city has been home to an NBA team. The Grizzlies entered the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1995. But after six seasons with no playoff appearances, the team relocated to Memphis in 2001.

“It was a combination of factors,” de Bonis said of why the Grizzlies didn’t work out in Vancouver. “The fan support was outstanding from Day 1. Having both an NHL team and an NBA team in our market at the same time was challenging because of the corporate dollars that were in the market. The Canadian-US dollar differential was quite significant then. The team’s performance was challenging. Also, at the time the hockey club wasn’t performing well. So it was really a double-whammy from that perspective.”

de Bonis said Vancouver is better-suited to host an NBA franchise now.

“I think our market has changed. It’s grown,” he said. “There are different groups here that are very focused on basketball and entertainment events. Obviously, the US-Canadian dollar is at par now, which is quite significant.”

de Bonis said Rogers Arena, which is home to the Canucks and formerly the Grizzlies, would need a few minor tweaks, but is still a viable venue for the NBA.

“It wouldn’t be too much of a challenge to bring in another sporting team that can play in a venue like ours,” he said.

You can listen to the entire interview with Victor de Bonis here.

Wyman & Bob

Wyman and Bob

Seattle Mariners...

Brandon Gustafson

ESPN’s Pérez: Mariners’ walkoff highlights importance of Crawford and Raleigh

"It tells you the character J.P. Crawford has been all season long for the Seattle Mariners, and it tells you how important Cal Raleigh is."

3 days ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seahawks K Jason Myers on what life as an NFL Kicker is like in today’s game

What does Seattle Seahawks K Jason Myers think this special teams unit can accomplish this season? What is the fraternity like between other kickers in the NFL? He joined Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman to discuss that and much more. What makes this Seahawks special teams unit different from previous versions he’s been apart of […]

4 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Zach Charbonnet...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seahawks Football 101 looks at hard-hitting RB Zach Charbonnet

Dave Wyman breaks down the physical running style of Seattle Seahawks rookie Zach Charbonnet in the latest Football 101 coming off a Week 3 win over Carolina.

5 days ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seattle Mariners Utility player Josh Rojas on the team’s final push to the MLB Playoffs

What’s the clubhouse like right now as the Seattle Mariners push towards the MLB Playoffs with less than a week left in the season? What is pushing them to succeed in this final stretch? He joined Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton LIVE from T-Mobile Park to talk about that and much more. What does he […]

5 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll Jarran Reed...

Mike Lefko

Lefko: The unexpected boost to Seahawks’ path to NFC contender

The Seattle Seahawks look like a real contender thanks to noticeable improvements in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

7 days ago

Seattle Mariners Luis Castillo...

Brent Stecker

Video: Seattle Mariners Breakdown — Can M’s rebound to make playoffs?

Bob Stelton of Seattle Sports' Wyman and Bob answers five big questions about the Seattle Mariners going into their huge final homestand.

7 days ago

Canucks COO Victor de Bonis says NBA would work in Vancouver