1975. That was the last year in which a hockey team called Seattle its home; that’s more than 40 years. The City of Seattle is just yearning for another hockey team to whet its icy appetite. Luckily, the city’s hockey prayers will soon be answered. Starting with the 2021-22 hockey season, the NHL will be graced with an expansion team based out of Seattle. There are only two problems: the team hasn’t settled on a name and they don’t have a stadium.
While the team’s name will likely be revealed sometime in late January of 2020, the stadium will open in the summer of 2021. However, the stadium is currently under construction and its construction team is pulling off some modern engineering marvels to be ready for the 2021 season.
Seattle’s new team will be playing at the former Seattle Center Arena, also known as the KeyArena. While the entirety of the former stadium’s interior has been completely demolished, its engineers wanted to keep the iconic diamondesque-shaped roof, in order to honor its legacy. And in order to do that, they will be suspending the arena’s roof in midair while building its interior. Ken Johnsen, the Senior Construction Executive overseeing the project, has given some insight into how that’s possible.
“We have to shore up that roof and keep it in place while we dig down 15 feet and out toward the sides,” said Johnsen. This will allow the workers to expand the arena’s total footprint from 400,000 square feet to 800,000. The arena’s new design will look to blend the classic roof with a new, sleek interior design in order to pay homage to the city’s iconic skyline.
The Seattle Center Arena will also look to host other events, such as the WNBA’s Seattle Storm as well as the NBA’s Seattle team, should one return. It will also host major concerts and other events.
It is always an exciting time when new stadiums are being built, but there is something special about Seattle’s new arena; it likely has to do with the fact that its construction management, the Oak View Group, is looking to respect Seattle’s traditions while also spearhead its future. I’m excited to see how Seattle’s new NHL team reacts to its new home when the time comes.