Seattle has a lot of hockey history. The problem is most of it has been paved under and built over.
So there’s no chance to visit the Seattle Arena at Fifth Avenue and University Street, the site where the Seattle Metropolitans played for Stanley Cup in 1917 and 1919. And the Civic Ice Arena on Mercer Street, home to a half-dozen teams including the Seattle Thunderbirds and the City Hockey League, lost its ice in favor of an opera pit in the ‘90s and has been gone for a half-decade now.
Even the original ice at the Seattle Coliseum, also known as KeyArena and now Climate Pledge Arena, is gone after renovations to upgrade the facility.
So, like the Kraken, we have to make our own hockey history. Here are a few places we think are worth visiting if you love hockey more than life (or, at least if you’re excited about cheering on Seattle’s newest pro sports team and think you may like hockey!):
Kraken Community Iceplex
10601 Fifth Ave. N.E., Seattle; krakencommunityiceplex.com
The beating heart of Kraken country is the new Kraken Community Iceplex where the old Northgate Mall used to be. Not only is it the home of the newest NHL team, but it could be the home to your or your child’s new hockey team as well.
The Iceplex opened in time for Kraken training camp and is now available to you as well, with open skate sessions, skating lessons, hockey tutorials, Kraken-curated leagues for kids and adults and ice rentals. Area leagues also can rent ice time to play their own unaffiliated tournaments.
Heck, the place is so new the rental skates barely even smell yet (hockey joke!).
The Iceplex houses one of the Kraken’s team stores, a snack bar, a Starbucks community store, a Virginia Mason health clinic and three sheets of ice. Sometime later this fall, the team’s 32 Bar & Grill will open as well.
It’s rare that you get to see a professional sports team’s practice facility in such detail. If you’re going to be all-in, it’s definitely worth spending time here.
And with the opening of the new Northgate light-rail station earlier this month, it’s now even easier to get up there to take a tour, get some Kraken gear or take some skating lessons!
Get your gear on
The first thing you’re going to find is that hockey is a pricey sport, whether you’re gearing up to support the team or are getting ready to hit the ice with your own stick, skates and pads.
There are three Kraken team stores open — at Chandler’s Cove, the aforementioned Community Iceplex and Bellevue Square — with a fourth coming soon, meaning there’s probably one within an easy drive or bus ride from wherever you live.
You can get anything Kraken-themed you want, from an official team jersey to baby onesies and commemorative pucks.
And if you’re looking to get serious about hockey, swing by Pure Hockey in Lynnwood (3225 Alderwood Mall Blvd., Unit A, Lynnwood), a one-stop shop for all things puck-related (including pucks). Another option is Hockeywolf, with locations in Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Bellevue, or your local Play It Again Sports. Seattle had a thriving amateur ice and street hockey community before the Kraken arrived, and that will only grow as the team plays its first games at Climate Pledge Arena.
Wrap your hand around a stick, try on a goalie’s mask or a pair of skates and get the feel for what it’s like to gear up. You’ll be surprised at the pile of equipment you’ll need to get started. Half the fun is picking all of it out.
Take a frozen field trip
The hard truth of the matter is some of us won’t be going to see the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. There are way more would-be fans than seats available and tickets will be pricey — a quick glance at Ticketmaster shows that you’ll have to pay anywhere from about $120 and up per ticket if you want to catch a Kraken game in person through the rest of this calendar year. (Hint: If you’re willing to wait, there appear to still be some single game tickets priced at under $100 for games in March and April.)
That doesn’t mean live professional hockey is out of reach, though. If you’re interested in learning the basics of the game or just in taking in a live hockey experience at a cheaper price tag, we suggest you head to the ’burbs and check out one of our thriving major junior hockey teams: the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Everett Silvertips. The Kraken will be building its hockey culture and fan base on top of the work these teams have already done in the area.
Though the Thunderbirds still carry the “Seattle” in their name, the team moved to Kent in 2007. The Silvertips began play in Everett in 2003. Both have fed NHL teams with players in the past, with the Thunderbirds boasting dozens over the years. And tickets will set you back closer to $15 than $150!
Both Western Hockey League teams started play this month in front of crowds for the first time since the pandemic shut things down, and it’s well worth the short drive north or south to catch a game.
Or, even better, catch a game when the rivals play each other. That’ll happen Oct. 15 and 16, Nov. 13 and 21, Dec. 17 and 18, Jan. 15 and 30, Feb. 26, March 5 and 12, and April 3.