Professional hockey will return to Seattle in the 2021-22 season, 106 years after the area’s first team hit the ice. Two years after its formation in 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to hoist the Stanley Cup as champions.
Interlake High graduate and current Bellevue-area baseball coach for a team of 17-18-year-olds Kevin Ticen is bringing the stellar Metropolitans back into the spotlight by penning a book, “When It Mattered Most: The Forgotten Story of America’s First Stanley Cup, and the War to End All Wars.” The book was published on April 2 and Ticen will hold signing events on April 5 at Redmond’s Brick and Mortar Bookstore and April 9 at the University Bookstore in the U District.
The Mets’ journey to the top is high on the inspirational sports-story list for Ticen, who formerly wrote about Seattle sports as the director of marketing and communications for the Seattle Sports Commission.
“The book is a story about a group of incredible people that overcame significant adversity to accomplish something special. I’m also a big history buff, so loved learning more about World War I. I know a lot about World War II and had a very basic knowledge of World War I when I began, so was fascinated to learn deeper about that time period,” Ticen said. “The entire thing literally happens day for day as the U.S. is pulled into World War I.”
Two years ago, Ticen was asked to help promote the centennial celebration of the Mets’ mammoth victory, and became fascinated with their story, which had never crossed his path before. After pitching the story to a few authors, and receiving no response, Ticen delved into the research process himself after the Seattle Sports Commission brought the Cup to Seattle in 2017.
Although he’s only a casual hockey fan, Ticen has soaked up insight into how teams reap success.
“I was a college and professional baseball player and still coach, so have a deep understanding of competing and of teams, which really helped me describe what was happening throughout the season and Stanley Cup final,” Ticen said. “These guys were very famous in Seattle until the late ‘40s and their obituaries were all heavily covered in the ‘60s. After that, they were unfortunately lost to history.”
Ticen noted that since nearly all the players returned to Seattle to live after their hockey retirements, there are copious grandchildren and great-grandchildren living in the region. On the Eastside, Frank Foyston’s grandkids attended Newport High and Lester Patrick’s niece enrolled her kids at Sammamish High.