How to ice skate at the Kraken Community Iceplex in Seattle
The three rinks Kraken Community Iceplex opened on September 10, after transforming the middle third of Northgate Shopping Center into a multi-purpose frozen playground. The Kraken will use it to train. Junior hockey leagues will be playing games. Small children will take skating lessons. Canadian expatriates will go curling. But don’t think that we awkward adults have been left out – welcome to the mad rush that is a public skate. Here’s how.
1. Don’t be afraid. Even if you haven’t skated since the days when Katarina Witt won gold for East Germany, the two-hour public skating sessions are a lark. Book in advance (admission $ 15, skate rental $ 5) and head to what was once the center of the Northgate Mall. Parking is plentiful, but starting October 2, the Northgate LRT stop will make it easier to get around on public transport.
2. Check the schedule. Daily Freestyle sessions can ring as if they welcome your choppy take on a triple salchow, but those times are actually reserved for figure skaters to work with coaches. Stick and Puck is essentially open hockey practice, and Drop-In Hockey is play time for perfectly suited players. Looking for Public Skateboarding; make reservations online.
3. Experiment. Try figure skates and hockey skates; tenants can exchange them at any time. The former have a claw-shaped footpick, useful for pushing with each stride, and the rental desk recommends them for beginners. However, you can catch the spike by mistake and cause a sudden drop – RIP my kneecap. The hockey versions have a different feel, but our goofy team of adults enjoyed them better.
4. Prepare to go to school. One way or another, the little kids who populate public skateboarding, especially on weekends, immediately make this crazy sport their own. Mainly because they can get up without moaning like a Grumpy old men exit. Keep an eye out or try using a plastic dolphin sled, a sort of ice-cold stroller, to support you.
5. Take a Zamboni break. Halfway through each two-hour session, the ice dissipates so that it can be smoothed out. Be prepared for an ice entree after the Zamboni has returned to its, I don’t know, stable; the first ones back on the ice get clean and relatively empty ice.
6. Enjoy the coast. Listen, if you want to become one of those dudes who flaunt themselves by skating backwards with their hands in a hoodie pocket like a low-profile flex, you’re probably going to need some lessons. And Iceplex offers them! But you’re not Surya Bonaly yet; on day one, go for moderate speed and gradual stops (rather than crashing into boards like Wayne Gretzky). Most falls aren’t catastrophic, but head to the ice rink benches to regroup if necessary.
7. Save it for the afterparty. As should be obvious, there is no access to the bar from the public skate area (although 32 Bar and Grill will open this fall). The concession stand sells popcorn and hot dogs, but the most tempting purchases come from the Kraken team store. The merchandise designers went above and beyond for the Kraken’s first season of swag. Maybe they’ll start selling Kraken brand knee pads and ibuprofen bottles soon.