Under the surface

The addition of the Seattle Kraken showcases a vibrant and growing ice hockey community in the Seattle area

by Kathryn Pinto, staff

Players fly across the ice, dark red jerseys streaking against the blue of the arena. Jessica Bennett, senior, stares at the bench. Her sister hops over the boards at the Seattle Fall Classic, an inaugural youth hockey tournament at the Kraken Community Iceplex. 

Bennett’s sister began playing hockey around age 6. Bennett herself has long been involved in the hockey community, attending Everett Silvertip, UW, and WSU men’s ice hockey games.

 The last time Seattle had a professional hockey team was with the Seattle Metropolitans, who won the Stanley Cup in 1917 before the disbanding of the franchise in 1924.  

Now professional hockey is back. 

The addition of the Kraken to Seattle’s list of sports teams is already having an impact in Seattle. The existing hockey community stands ready for the sport to move from a novelty to a far more everyday occurrence. 

The Kraken play at Climate Pledge Arena and practice at the Kraken Community Iceplex. “It’s really nice,” Bennett says. “The ice is great.”

“The Kraken in terms of values… has already been kind of groundbreaking in the league and in the hockey world,” Bennett says, highlighting the Kraken’s focus on diversity and equity in the sport. 

Bennett knows “it will bring more enthusiasm to ice sports in general,” making the sport significantly more visible. She is starting coaching for the Kraken Learn-to-Skate program. Around 1200 people signed up. 

“Hockey has been a long time coming to Seattle,” Bennett says. 

Seattle has always been a hockey place. Countless youth hockey organizations compete every weekend. Ice rinks populate the area from Tacoma, to Everett, to Wenatchee. From busy evening games, to 7:00 a.m. Stick and Pucks, the Seattle community has loved hockey for a long time, but has never quite had a professional team to show it. 

Kraken tickets come in at around $200, and that is looking weeks ahead. If you’re searching for a more affordable option, the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds teams offer vibrant sporting venues in the local area. Just if you go to Everett, beware of the cowbell goal celebrations.  

For those who have been in the sport forever, the Kraken is putting ice hockey on the map. 

McKinley Martsolf, junior, currently plays for Seattle Junior Hockey Association. Playing ice hockey since age 4, Martsolf grew up around a stick and a puck.

Now with the Kraken, everyone knows about ice hockey. Martsolf notes, “I’ve seen everyone start to become very interested” rather than in Elementary school where Martsolf’s sport was a novelty. 

Martsolf describes hockey as addictive. Once you get started, “the community wants you to continue,” he notes. 

While there are not many ice hockey players currently at Shorewood, Martsolf predicts that, “thirteen years from now, there will be a bunch.”

That is in part thanks to the hype of the Kraken.

The addition of the Kraken brings into view what was already there, expanding on a vibrant hockey community just below the surface.