Former Arenas of the Western Hockey League - Western Conference

WHL

 




Seattle Thunderbirds

Key Arena
Seattle, Washington
Former Home of the Seattle Thunderbirds
Built 1962

Key Arena

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.

 




Seattle Thunderbirds

Mercer Arena
Seattle, Washington
Former Home of the Seattle Thunderbirds
Built 1927
Demolished 2017

Mercer Arena



Mercer Arena is a part of the Seattle Center complex that also includes the Thunderbirds' current home, the KeyArena. Mercer was built in 1927 and was home to the Thunderbirds alongside the KeyArena (then called the Seattle Center Coliseum) in a venue-splitting arrangement similar to the one that exists in Portland, from their arrival in the Emerald City in 1977 to 1994. It was a U-shaped seating facility that held about 4,000, and until the mid-80s (after the team was renamed the Seattle Thunderbirds from the Seattle Breakers), the end boards at the open end was topped not by glass, but by chain-link fencing. The T-Birds played big games at the Coliseum, and smaller ones at Mercer. In 1994 the city of Seattle announced a major renovation to the Coliseum, and so while the NBA's Seattle Supersonics relocated for a year to the larger Tacoma Dome and the massive Kingdome, the T-Birds played their full schedule at Mercer. When the 1995-96 season opened, the Thunderbirds moved permanently into the KeyArena. Mercer Arena was demolished in 2017, and the city is currently building an opera house on the site.

 




Rockets

Tacoma Dome
Tacoma, Washington
Former Home of the Tacoma Rockets
Built 1983

Tacoma Dome



The Tacoma Dome is a geodesic dome in the southern Puget Sound city of Tacoma. Designed by the legendary Buckminster Fuller, the dome seats an improbable 17,000 people for hockey. It was home to the expansion Tacoma Rockets from 1991 to 1995, before common sense prevailed and the team was moved from their geodesic home to Kelowna.

Ray Marcham says: The Tacoma Dome is the ultimate multi-purpose arena - and, frankly, not good for any sport. It hosts American football, soccer, basketball, hockey and indoor soccer. The side seats for Rockets games were horrible - the pitch was too shallow. The "front row" of seats were still 50 feet away from the ice, and the arena floor was the main concourse. There were four rows of temp seats set up along the boards to try and give it a "real" hockey feel, but it didn't work. There are no corner seats, as the seating is much like an old-style English football stadium. Except when Tacoma played Seattle, they didn't draw well. There was a reason they went to Kelowna as fast as they could.

 




Giants

Pacific Coliseum
Vancouver, British Columbia
Former Home of the Vancouver Giants and Nats
Built 1968

Pacific Coliseum



Once home to the Vancouver Canucks, the Pacific Coliseum on the PNE Grounds in east Vancouver is still defiantly open and hosting hockey. I had been looking forward to coming to a Giants game here for, well, forever, but a few years back the Giants elected to save on their leasing costs and moved out to Langley. That said, in some senses this could still be considered a "current" building, as the Giants still do play here on occasion.

 




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