By Andy Eide
On the eve of the NHL season starting NHL Seattle invited hockey fans and community members to the Northgate Mall food court Tuesday to show off the plans for their future practice facility.
Seattle is planning on a three-sheet facility to open in 2021, in time for the start of the franchise’s inaugural season.
A packed audience listened to representatives from the team, local politicians, and community leaders talk about the excitement surrounding the Northgate Mall remodel.
There were renderings of the facility and a video previewing what it will look like.
The Northgate Ice Centre will be a 180,000 square foot facility that will serve as NHL Seattle’s training grounds and team headquarters, housing 200 employees.
Groundbreaking is set for February 2020 and when completed, will feature three ice rinks. The main rink will have 1,000 seats for spectators while the remaining two will accommodate 400 fans.
These three rinks will be where the team practices but also is going to be available to the community for recreational adult hockey, youth hockey, figure skating, and curling.
The project is part of a greater redesign of the mall that will include new retail, housing, light rail and a pedestrian bridge over I-5 connecting to North Seattle Community College.
After viewing a video and various renderings and floor plans, several speakers took to the podium Tuesday.
Lance Lopes, NHL Seattle
“We started out looking at sites all over King County. There were lots of different places we could have done this but our leadership was really clear with me that we needed to be in the City of Seattle. We needed to find a home where we could do the most good for our community and that really was in the City of Seattle where there simply are no ice rinks in the entire city limits.”
Debra Juarez, Seattle City Council
“I want to thank OVG and the NHL. They are not only going to have their three sheets of ice (at Northgate) and their two hotels, and the 1200-1500 units of market rate housing but they are going to work with us on an indigenous hockey league. They are going to work with us to work with children and women, and young girls so they can play sports as well.”
Jenny Durkan, City of Seattle Mayor
“This is a chance for the Northend to shine and for us to pull all those things together that really make Seattle the best city any where. I always talk about Seattle as the city of the future and I really believe it. If you close, and kind of squint your eyes (and think) about what Seattle is going to be like in five or ten years, right here, we’re going to have these amazing ice rinks. Where people are going to learn to skate and a hockey team center. We’re going to have affordable housing and a light rail. We’re going to have a bridge that goes over to a fabulous college. We are going to have new stores and its going to be a hub for community.”
All photos courtesy of Brian Liesse