• NHL Seattle details practice facility planned for Northgate

    By: Graham Johnson


    SEATTLE - The group working to bring the NHL to Seattle on Monday outlined plans for a 180,000-square-foot practice facility on the property of Northgate Mall.

    It will have team offices and a practice rink, plus two more rinks for community events such as youth hockey.

    NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke said practice facilities matter for recruiting top players and winning championships.

    "The ultimate dream of this facility is bringing the Cup back to Seattle," Leiweke said.

    Like the $700 million rebuild of KeyArena, the $70 million practice facility will be privately financed.

    It's planned for the east side of the Northgate Mall property.

    The mall dates to 1950 and is among the country's first.

    Light rail is coming in 2021, and Northgate is getting a big makeover.

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    Plans include 1,200 housing units, along with shopping and, now, hockey.

    "It's going to help the overall redevelopment. It's going to give it a better sense of place than what we had before," said Simon Malls Chief Operating Officer Michael McCarty.

    Club hockey teams must now leave the city to play, so adding rinks in Seattle is expected to grow the sport and the NHL fan base.

    The practice facility might also benefit basketball fans.

    Leiweke said it could be expanded to accommodate the NBA, should the Sonics someday return.

    "Whenever we plan for what we're doing, we also think about how it works for future use," Leiweke said.

    Work will probably start on the facility next year, after the NHL approves a team for Seattle, which is expected to happen in December.

    NHL Seattle is hoping to have a rebuilt arena ready for the 2020 season.

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