Dave Blanchard had a vision: to make hockey and youth activities accessible to all in the Snoqualmie, Washington area. Located roughly 30 miles east from Seattle, Blanchard envisioned an ice facility that could harbor a multitude of sports while fostering youth’s passion for learning new skills, making new friends and having some fun along the way.
Q&A with Dave Blanchard
With HTG’s architectural help, Sno-King Snoqualmie was born, with a grand opening making it official this past month. We caught up with Blanchard, former executive director of Sno-King Amateur Hockey Association, to learn more about what made this project special to him and the area.
HTG: First off, we hear you’ve stepped away to take some much-deserved time away from the workforce—how are you enjoying it?
Dave Blanchard (DB): My wife and I relocated to Idaho after my time at Sno-King was completed and we are loving the new adventure. I haven’t officially retired, but I am taking some time off until the beginning of the year and then I will hopefully land a new position where I can contribute like I did with Sno-King.
HTG: You were a driving force behind Sno-King, what made it a passion of yours?
DB: It was tied to my faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. In serving him, I wanted to give back to kids to have a positive impact on kid’s development and character.
Overcoming Project Challenges
HTG: What challenges did the project present?
DB: There were lots of challenges, but the main one was finding the land and a property owner that would work with a nonprofit to build an ice arena. Another challenge was securing the bank financing and the fundraising involved in raising the funds needed for construction. Thankfully HTG was instrumental in helping us cross many of those barriers.
HTG: There were some bumps along the road, especially as it pertained to COVID-19 and the stalling on any fronts, but now that it’s officially opened, is it pretty remarkable to see it come to fruition?
DB: It is the answer to hundreds of prayers. It is wonderful to see all the effort of the property owner’s team and Sno-King pay off. The contractor, Northway Construction, and their subcontractors did a remarkable job in tough circumstances.
HTG: How much of an impact will this facility have on growing the game in the area
DB: It will impact thousands of young kids a year in ice hockey and figure skating as well as serve tens of thousands kids, adults and families as a community recreation and gathering spot for decades to come. Sno-King’s mission is: “Building Players for Life” which includes building a love for ice sports as well as building their character for their futures.
HTG: What’s been your favorite part of the project?
DB: The enthusiasm it generated within the Snoqualmie Valley community. Watching the ice floors go in was a fun experience as well.
Advice for taking on Recreation Architecture Projects
HTG: Advice to those wanting to bring a facility to their area?
DB: Build a good team that shares your vision, starting with the architect and contractor, and build broad excitement for the project in the community. Keep things simple, and place the emphasis on the plan and equipment instead of frills.
HTG: Parting words?
DB: Praise God for both the struggles and the successes and to all the people that put so much into bringing the project to a reality.