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Did You Know?

Nearly 30 years ago, May 9-17, 1992, the 74th Junior Hockey championship, the Memorial Cup, was hosted at Seattle Center. The competition, which determined the champion of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), included the winners of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey, Western Hockey and Ontario Hockey leagues. Seattle Thunderbirds, as the Memorial Cup host team, also earned a berth in the tournament. It was the 1st Cup appearance in the team’s history, the 1st Memorial Cup championship for the Kamloops Blazers and only the 3rd time an American city played host to the tournament.   

The original plan was to play all games in the 11,923-seat Seattle Coliseum, the home facility of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics. However, when the Memorial Cup began, the SuperSonics were still alive in the NBA playoffs. This necessitated a venue change for some of the hockey games, to the 4,139-seat Seattle Center Mercer Arena (now Seattle Opera Center). 

The same month as the tournament, Seattle City Council approved an ordinance appropriating funds for a Coliseum Renovation Study, which laid the groundwork for a massive renovation that would dig down into the earth to add more square footage and seats to the venue, funded with no taxpayer support. KeyArena opened unofficially with a Thunderbirds game on October 30, 1995.  

The redeveloped (again with no taxpayer funding) Climate Pledge Arena, which dug down once again to add seats and footage, along with a glass atrium entry and many, many state-of-the-art amenities, hosts an opening National Hockey League Seattle Kraken game against the Vancouver Canucks on October 23, 2021. The much-anticipated new team, which last week completed its expansion draft, has already won over thousands of local fans through its community-focused approach and heartening spirit.  

Long live ice hockey in Seattle – go Kraken!

#seattlecenter #didyouknow #seattlekraken

About Seattle Center: 

Connect to the extraordinary at Seattle Center, an active civic, arts and family gathering place in the core of our region. More than 30 cultural, educational, sports and entertainment organizations that reside on the grounds, together with a broad range of public and community programs, create thousands of events on the 74-acre campus and attract over 12 million visitors each year. At Seattle Center, part of Uptown Arts & Cultural District, our purpose is to create exceptional events, experiences and environments that delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities. Activities at the Center generate $1.864 billion in business activity and $631 million in labor income.