Posted on June 25, 2013 at 5:10 AM
SEATTLE - It has not hosted a full time hockey franchise since the Western Hockey League’s Thunderbirds left in 2008.
Yet Key Arena, can still be put on ice, if you believe the engineers who work deep in the bowels of the building.
“These are the condenser water pumps,” says Fred Young, the building engineer, as he walks through the inner workings of the Key. “We have two ice making machines (and) 250-ton rotary screw R-22 compressors.” Young has worked at Seattle Center for a quarter century, and says “the system works pretty well.” The labyrinth of pipes beneath the seats helps to cool the ice making surface, and Young says it can be done in about 10 hours. The Ice Sheet would take longer to form.
The computerized network is given a test every month, says Young. “We take it down to about 5 degrees to make sure the equipment is working.”
The City of Seattle also still owns two Zamboni machines, currently held in storage at Seattle Center if needed.
Seattle Center was willing to show off the system after a report suggested the building was not NHL compatible because of ice making ability.
The NHL is currently debating the future of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise, and has urged the suburban city of Glendale to agree to a reworked lease deal with a new owner in order to keep the Coyotes in the desert. The NHL owns the franchise and league commissioner Gary Bettman has suggested the league will pursue options outside of Glendale for the next season if a new deal cannot be reached.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn recently acknowledged having a conversation with Bettman about the city hosting a team.
Potential investors Ray Bartoczek and Anthony Lanza met with McGinn, and Seattle City Councilmembers earlier this month, to discuss their interest about putting a team at Key Arena while a new Arena is constructed.
The NHL Board of Governors is scheduled to meet on Thursday.
A spokesperson for the City of Glendale has told reporters a council vote on a reworked lease deal is likely to occur July 2nd.