RENTON - Hockey is a family affair at the Sno-King Ice Arena in Renton, where 7-year-old Avery Willits is picking up the game.
“We’re probably at the rink four or five days a week,” said dad Joel Willits, who also doubles as coach and played the sport growing up. He says the excitement around an NHL team has been building.
“For our family, it’d be amazing to have hockey in the Pacific Northwest and help grow the game and be close and have an attachment to a team instead of cheering afar for a team you live nowhere near,” said Willits.
On Tuesday, NHL governors will decide whether a Seattle franchise will launch and whether that may be in 2020 or 2021.
“You can’t put disappointment anywhere in that. So many people are just ecstatic that we’re going to get a team if everything goes as expected tomorrow,” said Willits.
Fellow hockey parent, Don Foy say waiting an extra year isn’t thrilling.
“A little disappointed,” he said.
Foy went in with friends for thousand dollar deposits on 10 club seats hopeful to watch a NHL hockey team at the key arena when the new facility is finished.
“There’s a group of six of us that went in with 10 tickets. We’re about number 4,800 on the list, hopefully we get them,” said Foy.
A local team for these jockey fans is a big deal and brings back memories for Foy who cheered on the Sonics.
“A pro-hockey team, it’s a big deal. Growing up I had the Sonics, my kids don’t have that,” said Foy.
“The fans here have a lot of faith in the ownership for a NHL team to do it right and if it takes the time to get it done right, then that’s going to be great for the team,” said Willits.
Fans at this rink say they’ll be just as excited to bring the family affair to cheer at the pro rink whether that’s in another two years or three.