New multi-use court opens in Bryn Mawr-Skyway, debuting with One Roof Foundation/Kraken ball hockey clinic, giveaways, lunch and a celebrity 3-on-3 game — by Bob Condor
Any hockey event involving former NHLer and current Kraken analyst JT Brown is worth reporting. Even better if former Seahawks Super Bowl winner and UW receiver Jermaine Kearse is involved, plus about 60 kids enjoying a new and needed park space in their own neighborhood.
That’s exactly what Brown and Kearse were doing Sunday afternoon in Bryn Mawr-Skyway, an unincorporated area just south of Seattle, playing in a celebrity 3-on-3 ball hockey game as part of the launch celebration of a brand-new Multi-Sport Court at Skyway Park. The court is part of One Roof Foundation’s intentions to provide more access to active lifestyle resources and opportunities in Seattle-area neighborhoods while introducing and growing the sport of hockey.
Sunday’s free event attracted some 60 girls and boys who all went home with their own ball hockey sticks to come back and play regularly. One Roof Foundation and the Kraken will be presenting ball hockey programming as part of the commitment while, importantly, developing physical literacy among kids in the neighborhood who might not otherwise have such open spaces available. Local artist Troy Miles has contributed murals for the court’s stanchions to enhance the environment.
Everett Fitzhugh, Jermaine Kearse and JT Brown
“This is why I love doing public art,” said Miles, who attended the local ball hockey classes, researched Skyway’s liveliest gathering places, and took photos of community members along the way to compose his stanchion artwork. “You never know who is going to be impacted by this. You don’t know, maybe one of these little kids is a future Kraken.”
“This is a partnership that’s been realized here today,” said Warren Jimenez, director of King County Parks and Recreation, thanking the Skyway Coalition, West Hill Community Association, One Roof Foundation, and the Kraken. “This community has been in need for quite some time and it’s great to be able to make these investments here in a park.”
It was equally rewarding to see the kids participate full-throttle in their own ball hockey games with Kraken mascot Buoy and Delta Dental’s Tooth Fairy Experience headlining the group of kids, who also went home with other goodies, raffle prizes, and dental supplies. Some kids have started playing the sport after watching the Kraken on television (JT Brown gleaned that info) and/or attending ball hockey classes put on by the Kraken at local schools, while others were holding sticks for the first time.
The newbies had company: “I’ve never played hockey before,” said Kearse, who played for the Seahawks five of his eight NFL seasons. “It was really cool to get out there and try it out. Now a lot of kids in this area and, hopefully, around the city and state of Washington will be able to have the ability to do this. It was a lot of fun. [Laughing first,] I didn’t think I was gonna be as tired as I was.”
With Salima Specialties restaurant from the Skyway Shopping Center serving halal and pan-Asian street food to keep everyone well-fueled, the kids broke into third-grade and fourth-fifth-sixth grade groups, one-half running, stickhandling and playing games in a ball hockey clinic while the other half interacted with Delta Dental’s Tooth Fairy Experience in a fun review of caring for your teeth.
Jimenez said access to activities such as ball hockey “at an early age leads the pathway to overall health” in a child’s lifetime: “Access [to physical activity] is a really big thing for communities around Washington. We want to make sure that they have what they need to have healthy lifestyles.”
For his part, Brown smiled when talking about setting hockey nets underneath the sport court’s basketball goals and again when noting how much he and the kids enjoyed watching Kraken mascot Buoy move around the court.
“Obviously seeing Buoy run around, it’s always fun,” said Brown, one of the team captains for the celebrity game along with Kraken colleague and radio play-by-play man Everett Fitzhugh. “That’s why Buoy was my number one pick.”