John Barr Q&A


Photo courtesy of John Barr

Brittany Cinderella, Columnist

John Barr is the founder of NHLToSeattle, an organization responsible for helping bring the NHL to the Washington area. Barr is also a co-host on the podcast “Sound of Hockey”, a board member of the One Roof Foundation, and a coach of the Washington Wild Female Hockey Association and Junior Kraken Youth Hockey programs.

What inspired you to get started with NHLtoSeattle?

When I first moved to Seattle I recognized how fertile of a hockey market Seattle was at the time and just figured it would be a great market for the NHL. I researched why they did not have a team and what they would need to get a team and just started talking about it with friends and coworkers. Eventually I wanted to talk about it more broadly, so I took it online.

How has your view on hockey in Washington State changed?

It has exceeded my expectations on where it would be at this point. I had a lot of people tell me that this is not a hockey town and the NHL will not work here but my stance was that the NHL will help it grow in the area and become a hockey town. The support from the sports fans has been overwhelming and I have met so many people who jumped into hockey as soon as the Kraken came to town.

What do you love most about hockey? As a player and as someone in the crowd?

As a fan, I think it is the anticipation that something great can happen at any moment. It is so fluid and action packed that I find myself literally on the edge of my seat when watching games. As a player, It is the complexity of the game. Not only are you skating on ice but you have to look up to make passes while you keep the puck on your stick as people are barreling down on you.

What would you tell people who are interested in learning more about hockey?

I first tell people that you do not have to understand the rules to enjoy the game but if you want to learn more about hockey, try going to a game with a friend that is already a hockey fan. You can then watch it as you see fit and ask questions so someone that wants to help you enjoy a game they already enjoy.

What are your expectations for the Kraken’s second season?

Progress. They have added several quality players this offseason and the expectation is that they will get better. In the early part of the season they are playing better than I expected at this point and now they find themselves in a playoff position. If they can stay in the hunt for the playoffs by the middle of March, anything can happen.

How has having an NHL team in Washington helped youth hockey?

The Kraken have injected a huge level of excitement for youth hockey in the area and the team itself has prioritized growing the game at the lower age groups. In Washington state, USA hockey youth memberships grew 40% between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons and a big contributor is the excitement for the Kraken. Now that they have seen the team play, there should be another increase in kids wanting to give it a try.

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