SEATTLE - The community is celebrating the brand new home of the Seattle Kraken. The city’s professional hockey team debuted the Kraken Community Iceplex for the first time, Thursday, during an opening ceremony.
The iceplex, located in Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood, will be the Kraken’s official training facility. It includes a state-of-the-art ice rink, medical units, coaching and staffing offices and a gym.
"We didn’t just build a sheet of ice, we built what feel is the best training facility in all of the NHL, said Tod Leiweke, Seattle Kraken CEO. "I can tell you the Kraken players that were here on their own today scrimmaging, skating, perspiring it’s a dream come true for them too."
"To be able to call this facility home for our hockey team is pretty special," said Dave Hakstol, Seattle Kraken head coach during the opening ceremony.
There are three rinks total at the iceplex—including public use. Leiweke said it was "critical" to open this world-class space in an urban neighborhood.
"Now we get to bring kids in who would have never thought of coming here—whether it’s this rink to figure skate or curl, or two rinks over where the Kraken will practice. I was that kid. I was a poor kid and I’ll never forget stepping onto the ice that first time, that feeling...kind of what I felt today," said the CEO.
"Right here is where so many kids are going to learn to love the game, learn to play the game and what a great opportunity that is for our community," said Hakstol, whose two children play hockey.
Starbucks is a partner of the brand new facility. Camille Hymes, the company’s Vice President of Community Impact, said the partnership is a unique opportunity to connect with more people across the region.
"Help to design programs that really help to influence equity, inclusion and diversity in a sport that traditionally is not known for that," said Hymes.
During the opening ceremony, Hymes mentioned Starbucks is offering 100 free tickets to each Seattle Kraken home game, giving back to those serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We want to recognize our local heroes," said Hymes. "We look forward to identifying and celebrating all of those leaders, all of the partners that are in the community that really want to make a difference because together we’re better. And so this is our way of saying thank you."
"Thank you" isn’t enough to the fans, said Leiweke. During the opening ceremony, he paid tribute to fans across the region for helping to make the Seattle Kraken possible.
"It’s really a tribute to our fans—32,000 depositors, March 1, 2018. We’ll never forget," said Leiweke. "This community is ready to rally, this community is ready to cheer again. And I’m so proud we’re going to be able to bring some of that to the community."
Attendees of the opening ceremony got a sneak peek of the team on the ice. About 14 players came to the iceplex on their own time to run a quick scrimmage, excited for the grand opening.
"I think our players are just as excited as I am, and that’s saying a lot because I’m having trouble sleeping these days," laughed Leiweke. "They’re excited to pull on our sweater, they feel the excitement, they have already fallen in love with this city. They know what the fans have done and they know we’re going to be playing in the most beautiful arena in the world."
Kraken Community Iceplex opens to the public Friday, September 10, featuring special events all weekend. A sign-up and additional information about the events is available on the facility’s website.
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