SEATTLE — As the Seattle Kraken prepare to start their second season next week, the Kraken Community Iceplex, the team's training facility, is working to make a positive impact in the community.
Officials with the Kraken said that before this facility, there wasn’t an ice rink within Seattle for 40 years. After its first year it has brought skating and the sport of hockey to more than 1 million visitors.
Taylor Mulhern skates at the facility often and said the rink was much-needed.
“Seattle was in such desperate need of a new ice rink, and we got it,” Mulhern said. “We got the ice rink of all ice rinks.”
Mulhern said she used to have to travel to Kent, Everett or Shoreline for access to an ice rink.
This $90 million, 172,000-square foot facility opened in Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood on Sept. 9, 2021. Not only is it a facility for the Seattle Kraken to practice, officials with the team said it’s also meant to be an ice sports haven for the community.
“We truly believe that hockey is for everyone and we want to remove those barriers for anyone to be able to participate who wants to,” said Andrew Bloom, a Community Engagement and Youth Access Specialist with Kraken.
Over the past year, officials said nearly 5,000 people with a wide range of backgrounds learned how to skate and play hockey through various programs.
Facility officials said they’ve also partnered with Starbucks. The facility has its own community store on the second floor of the facility that shares a percentage of its profits with the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena’s One Roof Foundation. The foundation focuses on making hockey and other ice sports more accessible, especially for BIPOC youth and girls.
“I think that with only 17,000 customers we were still able to donate $80,000 back to the One Roof and back to the community is pretty huge,” said Amber Molen, the District Manager of the Starbucks Community Store inside the facility.
Officials also said the facility has hosted more than 250 community events and 30 field trips, serving 5,000 students.
“I think we’re just getting started, and I think we’re going to have such a bigger impact in year two,” Bloom said.