Kitsap fans gear up for hockey as Seattle Kraken start playing in NHL
Temperance “T” Mayo volunteered as a goaltender. A few years ago his roller hockey team in Bremerton had a vacancy shortly before a national tournament, and his father got him the job.
“My dad went to the goalie coach and said, ‘Hey, T wants to play goalie.’ I didn’t have a say, ”the 14-year-old Port Orchard resident said with a laugh. “And so I got slammed into the goalie gear, I was told, ‘Hey, you’re gonna be our goalie for the national championships, it’s coming in a month,’ and I changed my whole being as a goalkeeper. I found it to be a great position.
That was in 2017. Goalies are stranded, and now, several days a week, the Mayos are dutifully making the long drive from Port Orchard to the new Kraken Community Iceplex in Seattle’s Northgate where T plays for a team of homeless youth from Washington. Wild.
T’s mother Megan said: “It’s been a lot of miles on the car, I have certainly become a lot more familiar with I-5 than I ever wanted to be in my whole life, and I am. sure the build will never end in my life or T’s. We’re good enough at going over the miles and T chooses the playlist. We make it work.
Hockey has become a sport she wouldn’t trade people for, T notes. She aspires to follow it as far as she can.
“Watching NHL games, watching any game at this stage, I want to be out there on that ice,” she said. “I want to see these players, I want to be in this crease (at the net) now. It went from just watching it on TV and saying “This is interesting” to wanting to be in this fold now. “
She notes that she was a Vancouver Canucks fan. They were once the closest NHL team to home. Now, as the Seattle Kraken begins to play, she has a team in her backyard. His family managed to score tickets to attend the Kraken’s home opener against the Canucks at Climate Pledge Arena on October 23.
“I’m excited to see the Kraken play,” said T. “I’m so excited to see how much hockey this is going to bring in Washington State. “
The Mayos join a wave of fans across the region who will gravitate towards Seattle’s new NHL team. The Kraken will almost certainly inspire many stories like T’s amid renewed interest and entries into the sport at area rinks.
“I think it’s gonna grow like crazy”
The Bremerton Ice Center is already bursting with activity any given week, as youth and adult hockey leagues, learning sessions, figure skating periods, open skates and private ice rentals attract skaters from all over. ages. With the start of the Kraken game, interest in hockey is expected to boom.
Said Sam Rosenbaum, director of hockey at the center: “I’ve seen so much Seattle Kraken clothing and equipment, people already wearing hats, shirts, jerseys, which is wonderful, even without knowing what kind of a team is going to be put together and the coaches and all of that as they were getting ready over the summer for this.
Tim Tully of Manette is a regular at the ice center, where he usually plays a few nights a week and referees both youth and adult games. Although hockey is still small locally, he said, “… there’s no way it won’t grow. “
“I think it’s going to grow like crazy,” he said. “You’re going to have kids who see it on TV or on social media and everything like that. You have an ice rink down the street, they’re going to start showing up.
The game starts
Mike O’Neill of East Bremerton has put this October 23 date on his calendar. O’Neill signed up as a 22-game season ticket holder during the Kraken’s inaugural campaign, and this game against the Canucks will be his first hockey game.
As a new fan, he did his homework: he bought the NHL 19 video game to learn the rules and understand the game.
“I like that it’s constant action,” he said. “There is action even away from the puck that is happening. Everywhere you look, where there are players they are jostling for position, they are hitting each other, it’s a constant chase, which is exciting.
O’Neill grew up in Wisconsin and maintained his fandom for the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers, but when the Seattle NHL team was announced, “… I really felt like it was an opportunity for me to dive in and be part and to immerse myself. in that experience of being a local fan, of being a season ticket holder and living that dream, I guess, if you will, of being a season ticket owner. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never really thought it would be an option for me.
Megan Mayo of Port Orchard said, “Just go to a game. If you’re on the fence about hockey, if you’re not sure, just go to a game. It’s gonna be amazing. I think from a fan point of view, what we did with the Seattle Seahawks, when you bring in those kinds of fans who are just loyal and excited and then you add ice and fights and skates, that is going to be amazing. “
Nathan Pilling is a reporter who covers Bainbridge Island, North Kitsap and Washington State Ferries for the Kitsap Sun. He can be reached at 360-792-5242, [email protected] or on Twitter at @KSNatePilling.
Consider supporting local journalism in Kitsap County: Sign up for a digital subscription today.