• Project designers say NHL Seattle practice facility will be at Northgate

    By: Deedee Sun

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Seattle Hockey Partners are eyeing the mall area for a training facility. Designers for the new Seattle NHL training facility tell KIRO 7 it will be at Northgate Mall.

    The NHL group plans to make the announcement with details and show renderings Monday morning.

    It all makes a big week even bigger for hockey fans in Seattle. 

    “I've been walking around with a pretty big smile on my face,” said John Barr, a hockey fan. 

    “Sounds like a three-sheet practice facility for the NHL coming in at Northgate Mall,” Barr said. 

    KIRO7 was in New York City earlier this week as the NHL Executive Committee unanimously recommended a Seattle expansion to its board of governors. 

    “The committee's recommendation is let's do this,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after the vote. 

    Barr is not just a fan. He founded “NHL to Seattle” (the distinction being that “to”), a community group that’s worked for years to get the NHL to the Emerald City. 

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    “Just eight years,” he said with a laugh. 

    He’s excited about the practice facility. 

    “It’s great because it’s going to be the first time there's (been) ice in Seattle in a long time,” Barr said.

    People who live in the area are looking forward to it too. 

    “I think that's going to be exciting. I think that'll bring a lot of new activities for Seattle to do and for the kids to enjoy,” said Vanessa Valrey, who’s native to the Northgate area.

    The practice facility would come to Northgate Mall as it's in the middle of a major transformation. 

    Submitted plans show buildings will be demolished, and high-rise apartments, office space, a park, a fitness center and a hotel will be coming in. 

    The new light rail at Northgate is also expected to be complete by 2021. 

    “With the light rail coming in, it's a great access. It’d be nice to see if there's community events, whether it be practices or open practices where the community comes (to) check out the team,” Barr said.

    He’s confident that getting the NHL here is going to turn Seattle into a city of hockey fans. 

    “Once they kind of taste it, snack it, they're going to be like, ‘Oh my God, this is an awesome sport,'” Barr said.

    The board of governors will vote to give Seattle the final green light in early December.  

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