By Mina Williams Herald writer
The ear-ringing horn blast celebrating another Silvertips goal is just part of the excitement awaiting families going to ice hockey games at Everett’s Comcast Arena September through March.
“First and foremost Silvertips games are about family entertainment,” says Travis Huntington, director of public relations. “It’s about having fun and getting the chance to see players who may play in the National Hockey League one day.”
There is plenty of action for families at Silvertips games. In addition to the exciting ice hockey play, the arena’s video board offers interaction when cameras zoom in on the audience during the dance challenge or shows the trio of cartoon ice cleaning machines in a race to the finish line as the crowd cheers for their favorite.
If time stands still for little ones, Huntington points out that the arena’s concourse enables small fry a chance to stretch their legs while allowing adults to view the action on the ice.
The Western Hockey League Silvertips franchise plays against teams from as close as Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, B.C., and as far away as Canadian cities Calgary, Regina and Moose Jaw. The about three-hour events are broken up into three periods, with two intermissions. Players range in age from 16 to 19.
During the two intermissions fans could be treated to mini ice hockey games with local youth team players taking the ice, demonstrations from area dance teams, youth cheer groups or any number of wacky games of chance that become hilarious when slippery ice is added to the mix.
Like all teams, the Silvertips have a mascot. This one is a cuddly brown bear named Lincoln with jersey No. 72. He is named and numbered after the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier that has called Everett home port. On any given game night, Lincoln strolls the arena’s concourse high-fiving young ones and visiting those seated in the stands, getting his photo taken and generally clowning around.
A chance to meet players is at hand, post game, in the Silvertips’ autograph booth by section 116 or before the game when injured players are out on the concourse.
Outside of game nights, players take on the role of ice hockey ambassadors visiting children in schools and hospitals.
Game nights are loud and exciting, says Debbie Steigerwald, a season ticket holder who opens her home to players during the season. The Pittsburgh native understands the game and thought it would be fun to provide room and board to players. This is her seventh season as a billeting, or host, family.
The fans make games even more exciting, she says. “Lots of people wear Silvertips team jerseys and sweatshirts; they cheer a lot.”
Another element of WHL hockey is that these teenage players are working to move up through the league ranks to play professionally one day.
While playing for the Silvertips, school-aged players attend Everett High School. This season there are about a dozen players enrolled.
“Our audience really gets to see tomorrow’s stars today,” Huntington says.
One of the first players to stay with the Steigerwald family was drafted by the Boston Bruins and is currently playing in that team’s development system in Providence, R.I.
Seating styles for all
Game seating for the September-to-March season offers something for everyone.
Single-game tickets range from $15 to $30. Tickets to sets of 14 and 22 games range from $180 to $575.
A Family Four Pack includes four game tickets and a voucher for a pizza at Boston’s in Mill Creek or Smokey Point for $60. The catch is, the offer is good for the first 20 packages to be sold. Additional tickets can be purchased for families needing more than four tickets.
Tickets bought online tack on a $4.50 fee.
Five-dollar Super Saver Saturday tickets, in section 215, are available the first Saturday home game each month while supplies last. Those seats need to be purchased at the box office or the Silvertips office. A $1 fee will be added to each ticket.
Party packages and areas are available on event nights.
Silvertips seating includes the family-friendly section 215, where alcohol is not allowed.
Children 3 years old and younger do not need a ticket if they sit on an adult’s lap.
The next home games are Nov. 11 and 12 against Prince George, Nov. 18 versus Portland, Nov. 19 playing Vancouver and Nov. 25 and 26 against Regina and Swift Current.
For ticket information call 425-252-5100 or visit www.everettsilvertips.com.