The Seattle NHL expansion team broke ground on a new training facility, headquarters and community ice rinks on Thursday.
Northgate Ice Centre, a 180,000-square-foot facility, is expected to be completed by fall 2021.
Seattle, which will begin play as the League’s 32nd team in the 2021-22 season, said the goal of the facility is to ignite and encourage passion and skill and build a hub for hockey fans. The complex will include three sheets of ice, all for community use, and 14 community-use locker rooms. Team spaces will include locker rooms and state-of-the-art strength and conditioning areas.
Tarn Sublett, general manager of the Northgate Ice Centre, said the facility will be open to all, not just hockey fans.
“Open skates with themes will be an important opportunity to showcase skating to the casual ice enthusiasts and hockey novices,” Sublett said. “Fans will be able to watch the NHL team’s practices too.”
The goal is to help youth participation in the sport grow in Seattle, which now has no community ice sheets within the city limits.
Sublett said NHL Seattle expects annual youth hockey participation in Washington state to jump much higher than its current rate of 10-15 percent once the facility opens.
“Right now, the youth hockey number is about 5,000,” Sublett said. “It can’t grow much more without new rinks.”
The complex will also have a team store and restaurant on site, as well as office space for about 200 team employees. Home games will be played at The New Arena at Seattle Center, which is expected to be completed by next summer.
Seattle, which was approved to join the NHL on Dec. 4, 2018, has to yet to announce a nickname. On Jan. 30, the team said “no announcement is imminent” for its nickname after rumors surfaced that the choice would be Kraken.
“At NHL Seattle, we are thrilled by the growing excitement about our team, and we can’t wait to share every detail with our fans,” the team said in a statement given to The Seattle Times. “However, we will not be commenting on any rumors. Please check our social channels for more updates.”
The target date for a team announcement is the first quarter of this year.