WHL - FORMER RINKS: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, U.S.A.
(Photo: Copywright - D.J. Kris)
Former Home of the Seattle Thunderbirds
KeyArena, formerly the Seattle Center Coliseum, is first and foremost a basketball arena that was the only home that the missed and lamented Seattle Supersonics ever had. Although built in 1962, the arena was given a $75-million renovation in 1994 that was supposed to ensure the long-term future of the NBA in town, yet a short 14 years later the team was uprooted in one of the great acts of sports villainy in history, right up there with the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, the Jets leaving Winnipeg, and every time the Yankees play. Half a season later, the Thunderbirds also left, to their new, purpose-built arena in the southern Seattle suburb of Kent. While I never made it to a WHL game there, I've been told by more than one person that it wasn't a great experience, as the arena floor wasn't really big enough for hockey and the T-Birds never sold enough tickets to fill the place. KeyArena is today only home to the WNBA, and the city is debating the rink's long-term future.