T-Birds’ first Kent match Jan. 3; tickets selling fast

Left wing Prab Rai

Left wing Prab Rai

The Thunderbirds are coming!

The Seattle Thunderbirds minor-league hockey team will debut at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3 against the Everett Silvertips at the new ShoWare Center in Kent, team officials announced Thursday.

Tickets for the game went on sale at 9 a.m. Friday at www.seattlethunderbirds.com and www.showarecenter.com.

TBirds officials said they sold 800 tickets the first day of the sale.

Tickets are only on sale through the Web sites until the ShoWare Center box office opens later this month. ShoWare Center officials have yet to announce an opening date for the ticket office as construction continues at the arena.

“I’d be very surprised if it’s not sold out and fairly quickly,” said Russ Farwell, Thunderbird general manager, in a phone interview Thursday. “We’ve been hearing a lot of interest around here.”

Tickets are $22 for most seats or $16 for adults and $12 for children in the family zone. A limited number of club seats will be available for $40. The club seats include access to the club lounge. Each ticket purchased online will be subject to a $3 convenience fee.

Fans can pick up their tickets at Will Call or have the tickets mailed to them for a $5 fee. Fans can print their tickets at home with no charge beyond the standard $3 convenience fee.

Once the box office opens by the end of December, fans can buy tickets at the ShoWare Center with no extra charge. Fans also will be able to order tickets by phone when the box office opens. For phone ticket orders, there will be a $3 convenience fee per ticket, a $5 service charge per order and a $5 charge to mail the tickets or have them left at Will Call.

The $84.5 million ShoWare Center is the new home of the Thunderbirds, a Western Hockey League team with players ages 15 to 20. The city of Kent has a 30-year lease with the T-birds. The Thunderbirds are moving to Kent from their current roost at KeyArena in Seattle.

The 6,025-seat arena is under construction at 625 W. James St.

“Our entire organization from the players to the staff to the sales people are very excited to get in there,” Farwell said. “We’re ready to get moved and settled.”

The Thunderbirds had asked city officials if the team would be able to play games Dec. 27, 28 and 30 at the ShoWare Center rather than KeyArena if construction finished early.

But officials for Mortenson Construction Co., which is building the facility, determined in a meeting Wednesday with city and ShoWare Center marketing officials that the arena would not be ready for a game before Jan. 3.

“To try for Dec. 27 would have rushed things too much,” said Ben Wolters, city economic development director. “It would not have been as ready to go as we want for everything to be working well. But we confirmed we can meet the Jan. 3 date.”

Fans can buy season tickets for the T-Birds’ 28 remaining home games through March 15, including three at KeyArena and 25 at the ShoWare Center.

Season tickets are available for $518, or $18.50 a ticket. A family zone adult season ticket is $360, or $12.85 a ticket. For season ticket purchases, call the T-birds at 253-239-7825.

City officials will throw a free grand-opening party for residents from 4 to 9 p.m. Jan. 2. City officials are still finalizing the entertainment details of the open house. The evening also includes tours of the facility.

ShoWare, a ticket-sales firm, signed a naming-rights agreement for the arena last month with the city. The company will pay the city $3.175 million under the 10-year contract.

ShoWare is part of VisionOne Inc., based in Fresno, Calif. ShoWare offers box-office services, including online ticket sales and distribution for events at more than 300 venues. The company handles ticket sales for the new Kent arena.

Besides the Thunderbirds games next year, the Harlem Globetrotters perform Feb. 18 at the ShoWare Center. ShoWare Center officials have yet to announce any other events, but local high-school graduations will be in the mix. Other events, such as conventions, concerts and ice shows also could be attracted to the facility.


• Jan. 3 , 7:05 p.m.: first game at ShoWare Center at Kent

• Jan. 2, 4-9 p.m. : Grand-opening ceremony of ShoWare Center.

• Tickets are $22 for most seats or $16 for adults and $12 for children in the family zone. A limited number of club seats will be available for $40. The club seats include access to the club lounge. Each ticket purchased online will be subject to a $3 convenience fee.

• Tickets for the Jan. 3 game went on sale Friday.

• Tickets can be purchased at www.seattlethunderbirds.com, or www.showarecenter.com.

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