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Mayor wrongfully credits Seattle as home of hockey champions

The Seattle Thunderbirds, a Kent team, defeated the Regina Pats in six games to claim their first WHL Championship (WHL photo)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray congratulated the Seattle Thunderbirds for their stellar win over the Regina Pats this weekend to capture their first league title since the team’s inception 40 years ago.

The well-deserved praise was a bit off-base.

“Seattle is a hockey town through and through and proud of home champions!” Murray tweeted.

There may be plenty of hockey fans in Seattle, but it is no longer the home of the Thunderbirds.

A little background on the Thunderbirds:

The team was originally named the Vancouver Nats. When it moved down to Seattle in the 70s, the Nats became the Seattle Breakers.

The Breakers played in the Seattle Center Ice Arena. They were sold in the mid-1980s and renamed the Seattle Thunderbirds, and eventually moved to KeyArena. However, the Thunderbirds weren’t pleased with KeyArena; for one thing, the floor barely fit a hockey rink.

In 2009, the Thunderbirds migrated south to Kent, where they still play in the ShoWare Center.

To say that Seattle is a hockey town “through and through,” then, isn’t exactly correct. It used to be a hockey town until the city failed to maintain a suitable venue for the sport.

Luckily, the city has a chance to redeem itself by either renovating or replacing KeyArena, or building an entirely new arena in SoDo and getting NBA and NHL teams back to the city. Mayor Murray said doing so is a priority.

“It’s important,” he’s previously said. “It’s one of the things I’d Like to have as part of my legacy.”

Until then, maybe Murray will have a chance to congratulate the Thunderbirds on a job well done — in Kent.

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