Thunderbird ticket sales are go, say box-office folks

Seattle Thunderbird goalie Calvin Pickard and defensemen Jeremy Schappert chase the puck in a game against Everett Oct. 25 at KeyArena. The T-Birds soon will be playing in their new home - the ShoWare Center at Kent.

Seattle Thunderbird goalie Calvin Pickard and defensemen Jeremy Schappert chase the puck in a game against Everett Oct. 25 at KeyArena. The T-Birds soon will be playing in their new home - the ShoWare Center at Kent.

The Seattle Thunderbirds minor league hockey team has sold nearly 1,800 season tickets for the new ShoWare Center at Kent, almost doubling the number of season tickets the team was able to sell last year at KeyArena in Seattle.

The T-birds also sold nearly 1,000 single-game tickets online Wednesday and Thursday for games to be played Jan. 4 to March 15 at the city-owned ShoWare Center at Kent, formerly the Kent Events Center. Tickets for those games went on sale Dec. 3.

“Just in the first two hours we sold tickets for every game,” said Rick Ronish, T-birds director of operations, in a phone interview Friday. “There were not huge numbers, but tickets were sold for each game.”

Tickets are only available online at

The ShoWare Center ticket office is expected to open after the middle of December. The T-birds also will take phone orders for tickets at that time.

“The (ticket) system was unbelievable,” Ronish said. “We had nothing but positive feedback because of the fan friendliness. There was not a single patron complaint.”

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.

The $84.5 million events center, located at 625 W. James, is the new home of the Thunderbirds, a Western Hockey League team. The city of Kent has a 30-year lease with the T-birds.

Fans can go online to pick a specific seat they want for specific games. The ShoWare system does not pick the best available seat, as to other ticket carriers, but rather gives the online user the opportunity to select the seat they want.

“It’s super simple,” Ronish said. “And you can print tickets at home.”

Ticket prices are $22 for most seats or $16 for adults and $12 for children in the arena’s “family zone.” A limited number of club seats are available for $40. The club seats include access to the club lounge.

Each ticket is subject to a $3 convenience fee, for the online processing.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the 6,025-seat arena, and it appears to be on schedule. City officials will throw a grand-opening party for residents from 4 to 9 p.m. Jan. 2 at the center.

Single-game tickets for T-birds games on Dec. 27, 28, 30 and Jan. 3 will go on sale on the T-birds Web site 9 a.m. Dec. 12. Thunderbird officials have yet to determine if those games will be played at the ShoWare Center or KeyArena. The ShoWare Center is slated to officially open Jan. 2, but possibly could be ready for the T-birds as early as late December.

Ronish expects ticket sales to soar once fans have been inside the new arena. Season tickets are still available.

“We expect a nice push when people see how nice it will be,” Ronish said.

Contact Steve Hunter at 253-872-6600, ext. 5052 or

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