Visitors to Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena view the new mural depicting the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame induction classes. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Visitors to Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena view the new mural depicting the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame induction classes. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Mural brings Snohomish County sports history to life

The collages at Angel of the Winds Arena depict Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame induction classes.

If you happen to have found yourself wandering the concourse at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena recently, you probably encountered a new and growing expanse of wall art.

In the southwest corner of the concourse several collages of photographs have appeared on panels of the wall. The images are an amalgamation of black and white and color photos, featuring some of the most famous faces in Snohomish County sports history.

Indeed, the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame is in the process of having its profile raised.

The Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame is getting a big dose of increased visibility through the Sports Hall of Fame Wall Project, a mural being installed at Angel of the Winds Arena that will give viewers a better look at those who have been enshrined since the Hall of Fame began inducting members in 2010.

Construction of the mural is currently in progress. The first four induction classes — from 2010-13 — are already on display. Each class has its own panel, with photos of all the inductees merged into a single image that’s turned into a wall vinyl, which is then plastered to the wall.

The goal is to have the wall complete with all the current members of the Hall of Fame, including the 2019 induction class, in time for the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Sept. 18.

“To me it’s a really exciting project to add to the display cases with the memorabilia,” said Tammy Dunn, sports development director for the Snohomish County Sports Commission, which oversees the Hall of Fame. “It’s different, it’s unique to what other Sports Halls of Fame in Tacoma or Spokane have done in their arenas. I’m looking forward to showcasing it at our banquet for all the inductees to see themselves on the wall.”

The Sports Hall of Fame Wall Project came about through a combination of necessity and inspiration.

The necessity was the result of a space crunch. Up until this year, the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame consisted only of several display cases in the northeast corner of the concourse at Angel of the Winds Arena. That’s where memorabilia from members of the Hall of Fame, housed in glass cases, are on display for the public to see.

The Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame’s induction classes of 2012 and 2013 are displayed as part of a new mural at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame’s induction classes of 2012 and 2013 are displayed as part of a new mural at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

There’s just one problem: Space in the display cases is running out, and there’s little room for adding more cases. Therefore, a creative solution needed to be found, and that’s when inspiration arrived.

“We realized a couple years ago that we were running out of room in the display cases,” Dunn explained. “So we started talking to the arena and to the Everett (Public Facilities District) board about finding opportunities to expand. Then I found out about the the opportunity of a wall vinyl, which I believe I originally saw at the Marysville Historical Society. I thought that was a cool idea and brought it to the Sports Hall of Fame committee.”

That was more than a year ago, and in January the committee decided to move forward with the project. Quinn Lambert from the Snohomish County Sports Commission and Rich Haldi from the Hall of Fame committee took leading roles in sorting out the logistics. FastSigns of Everett was hired to create and install the wall vinyls. Actual work on the mural began two months ago.

There are 20 wall panels available, leaving room for classes through 2029. There are some possible complications, as a vendor booth currently sits in front of three panels, and other panels have an exit sign or fire alarm to work around. Dunn said she was working with the arena on an agreement regarding the vendor station, and that she had full confidence that the installers can work around the other obstacles.

So far the committee is thrilled with how the mural looks.

“It’s wonderful, it really is,” Hall of Fame committee chairman Frank Foster said. “It just takes what we had in the showcase and now it’s multiplied 100-fold. People can really see these wonderful athletes and coaches and teams up close and personal.”

The display cases will remain in the northeast corner of the concourse, meaning the Hall of Fame will now be featured in two arena locations.

“The one thing we hope it inspires is that it will help people to know more about the history of Snohomish County sports,” Dunn said. “A lot of the times now when there’s an event the display cases are behind a curtain, so they’re not available to the general public. But the wall vinyls are in an area where people congregate. Then we’ll have information also on the wall display that leads to a website that talks more about the individuals so you can learn more about them.”

Foster concurred: “I always use Lee Orr, who was from Monroe and was in the second induction class, as an example,” Foster said. “He ran against Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. People like that have done unbelievable things, and now people when they’re walking around the concourse they can see those athletes and learn even more. That’s what we’re doing, letting young boys and girls and families see the greatness that lives or has lived in Snohomish County.”

If you have an idea for a community sports story, email Nick Patterson at npatterson@heraldnet.com.

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