A youth hockey organization has unleashed a slapshot into Snoqualmie.
Sno-King Amateur Hockey Association and Sno-King Ice Sports dropped the puck with an announcement on June 5 that they are entering into a long-term lease agreement to create a two-sheet hockey ice arena at 35300 SE Douglas St. in Snoqualmie Ridge.
Construction will start this summer and the 72,500-square-foot arena is slated to open in summer 2020. The National Hockey League-sized ice sheets will be used for the continued development and demand of youth and adult ice sports starting in mid-2020. The price tag sits at about $23 million, according to Sno-King executive director Dave Blanchard.
The Eastside-focused youth hockey association and home for ice sports — with arenas in Kirkland and Renton — has been shooting to expand for a while, and Blanchard said the timing is ideal to launch the Snoqualmie project on the heels of the NHL’s announcement to add a franchise in Seattle.
“The NHL coming to town certainly adds a lot of validation to expansion, and they’re gonna do great things for the area. They’re really community minded folks,” Blanchard said. “It’s gonna generate a ton of interest in hockey, ice sports and everything else, so to be able to work off of that and complement what they’re trying to do will really be benefits to both them and us.”
The Kirkland and Renton Sno-King facilities will remain open, with the Snoqualmie expansion more than doubling the size of Sno-King’s rink space.
By building the arena in Snoqualmie, Sno-King places itself strategically where people can reach one of their rinks within a 30-35-minute drive from their homes during peak hours, Blanchard said.
“It’s a way for us to expand our mission,” Blanchard said. “We’re nonprofit, so we have a mission to reach kids. And we’re a youth-development organization, so we’re really happy to be able to have an opportunity to reach out to more kids to help them both in their hockey skills and their life skills.”
The Razwick family, former owners of Technical Glass Products, is the developer and Jeff Razwick noted in a press release: “Supporting Sno-King by providing a building for their new home in Snoqualmie is one way we can contribute to the community. This will be a huge benefit to local youth and adults interested in hockey and figure skating, and the new arena will provide the ice space needed for everyone to get out there and skate.”
Blanchard said in the press release that the expansion will allow them to add 1,600 youth and 1,000 adults to their learn-to-play and competitive youth and adult programs and add more than 6,500 hours of ice time.
Former hockey player and current Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said the arena will benefit the community with additional recreation space and more visitors to frequent local businesses.
“The City of Snoqualmie is excited to play a part in the growth of hockey in Washington state and we are honored to officially welcome Sno-King to our community,” said Larson.
An upcoming capital campaign and search for corporate sponsors will help generate funds for the arena, said Blanchard, adding that a local bank has loaned them money for construction costs and Sno-King has some cash on hand as well.
Blanchard said that reaching into the Snoqualmie realm will be a solid fit for Sno-King. There’s lots of new development on the horizon and plenty of young children who could gravitate toward the sports of hockey and figure skating. He added that the area is aesthetically pleasing and both residents and city leaders have wanted to add an ice arena to the area for a while.
“From a cost standpoint, it just was ideal also. It allows us to do a lot of good things inside an arena and still as a nonprofit, we wanna make sure we do it in a financially sound way. I think to try and do it another Eastside location might be financially burdensome also,” said Blanchard, whose son laced up his hockey skates for Sno-King 20 years ago and got him interested in the sport.
Blanchard’s real-estate development and business background matched Sno-King’s needs when he became executive director a year and a half ago, said the former president of three companies.
He’s a hockey fan and part of his circle of friends are connected to some ex-NHL players.
“There’s nothing quite like an NHL game in person and especially the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, they’re sensational,” Blanchard said. “I think Seattle’s gonna love it.”