Now that the inaugural Seattle Kraken season has begun, there is a bright spotlight shining on hockey in the Puget Sound region, and local hockey leaders anticipate a jolt of interest in youth and adult recreational leagues in the area.
The Kraken has made an effort to grow the sport locally at both the youth and adult levels, through introduction to hockey events, leagues and more.
If you’re looking to get involved in recreational ice hockey, here’s a breakdown of how to get started.
Step 1: Learn to skate
Before jumping into a league, it’s imperative that you know how to ice skate. There are several classes available across the Greater Seattle area. Most classes require helmets, gloves and thin socks.
The Kraken Community Iceplex offers youth skating programs through Learn to Skate USA for kids aged 3 to 17. After making it through the basic youth program, kids can sign up for figure skating or hockey skills programs.
The Iceplex also hosts adult Learn to Skate classes designed for first-time skaters over the age of 18. There are six levels in the program, and after you make it through the rounds, you may continue to the Emerald Edge figure skating programs or Learn to Play for hockey skills.
Other rinks across the Greater Seattle area offer ice skating classes — to find the one closest to you, head to st.news/KCI.
Step 2: Learn to play
Several local ice rinks are hosting “Try Hockey For Free” events, where all ages can come out to the relaxed event and give the sport a try. The Kraken’s website features a list of participating rinks.
The Kraken Iceplex offers youth Learn to Play programs for ages 5 to 16 through a partnership with the NHL and USA Hockey. The programs start at $220 and come with a full set of hockey gear; financial aid is available. Participants must complete Learn to Skate programming before registering.
The Iceplex also offers adult Learn to Play programs designed for adults who have never played hockey or have minimal experience, which start at $325.
Step 3: Gear up
To play in the youth and adult Kraken recreational leagues, players must provide a game jersey and socks, helmet, gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, shin pads, jock, hockey pants, hockey stick and hockey skates.
Most rinks sell the required equipment. Local hockey-specific stores include Pure Hockey in Lynnwood and Hockeywolf, with locations in Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Bellevue. There are some used equipment options, including Elevate Sporting and Elevate Proshops, as well as Play It Again Sports.
Step 4: Find a league
After completing youth Learn to Skate and Learn to Play programs, kids can join youth leagues. The Kraken Community Iceplex offers Junior Squid for ages 6-9 and Junior Kraken for ages 7-12.
Based on where you live, there are other youth leagues for age groups ranging from 12-18 that can be found on the Kraken’s website.
The Western Washington Female Hockey Association offers youth recreation leagues and rep teams for girls, which can be found on its website.
To find a full list of adult leagues based on location, you can go to the Kraken website.
The Kraken Hockey League is an adult, all-levels, coed recreational hockey league that began playing on Sept. 26 and runs through April 2022, though registration to play is still open for late-start and midseason starts according to the website.
The league divides its 100+ teams across eight divisions and four subdivisions based on skill level. Players can either register as a team, free agent or substitute player.
The Seattle Women’s Hockey Club offers a women-only league. The season runs from September to May each year for all skill levels. Preregistration has passed for the 2021-22 season, but the waiting list is still taking applicants.
Hockey is for everyone
The NHL launched Hockey is for Everyone to create more inclusive spaces for everyone to be able to play hockey, and to drive social change.
The Seattle Pride Hockey Association is a nonprofit organization geared toward diversity and inclusion, and creating an inclusive space for LGBTQ+ players. (LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning, with the + denoting everything along the gender and sexuality spectrum.)
The Seattle Adaptive Sports sled hockey team is open to all participants, though those with spinal cord injuries or physical disabilities are encouraged to try out. There is also a Seattle Blind Hockey group available.