Three people smile with their Kraken gear on and downtown Seattle buildings in the background
Media Caption
A family outing to Seattle via special Sounder service!

A new year's trip combining holiday traditions and a classic winter event

Publish Date

There’s something truly special about an outdoor event – but typically, that’s reserved for the the summer months.

Which is why when the NHL Winter Classic released tickets last March, Sound Transit Digital Specialist Hannah Cottle snapped them up. Here's her story of taking Sounder to the game!

A longtime supporter of hockey in Seattle (even as a teenager, I was a part of a Facebook group that was desperate for a team in the region), I was excited to experience the Seattle Kraken at T-Mobile Park, and to share the experience with my parents.  

In planning, knowing my enthusiasm for transit, my parents asked me if there was Sounder event service for the game. Thankfully, there was – which made our journey even smoother than anticipated. 

Hannah gives a thumbs up while taking a selfie on the Sounder train.
Sound Transit employee Hannah Cottle gives a thumbs up.

Knowing the Winter Classic was taking place on the New Year's Day holiday, I made sure to consult the Sound Transit holiday schedule to make sure I’d be able to make the right connections. I departed for my parents home in the Puyallup valley, taking the 578 bus from downtown. It was normal Sunday service, which meant the 578 came hourly, which made for a smooth ride down to Sumner station, where my mom picked me up.  

We did our celebration on the 31st (a beloved tradition of a fondue pot filled with hot oil, frying up the entire freezer section), and the next morning, made our way to Puyallup Station.

A new parking garage recently opened in Puyallup, and construction starts soon on a garage for Sumner Station, so if you're traveling through the region and wanting to park-and-ride, Puyallup Station will be your best bet.  

Hannah's parents at Puyallup Station.
Ready for the first-ever Winter Classic in Seattle!

We arrived 15 minutes early since only one game train each way was running for this event – but if you’re catching the Sounder northbound before Seahawks games, no worries – you’ll usually have two chances to catch your train heading north.  

My mom reloaded her ORCA card using the ORCA app while we were waiting in the car, and my Dad purchased a roundtrip ticket using the TransitGo app.  (I used my work-sponsored ORCA card, a perk of being employed by Sound Transit!) 

Hannah's mom taps her ORCA card on a yellow reader.
ORCA is the easiest way to pay for transit in our region.

The train arrived right on time, and we had plenty of room to sprawl out. Our journey was safe, efficient, and gave us time to get our ducks in a row ahead of the game.

A Sound Transit fare ambassador came by to ask if we had any questions about the ride or the programs, and really showed that Sound Transit is thinking about the passenger experience while traveling.  

Hannah's parents wear hats, coats and gloves while sitting on the Sounder train.
What a way to celebrate the start to 2024.

When we arrived, it was a quick hop, skip, and jump to the action at T-Mobile Park. We took the stairs down from King Street Station, but the elevators were also available and able to take folks down to the stadiums.  

Fans in a Tanev and Larsson jersey walk to the stadium.
It was great to see so many Kraken fans on board!

Of course, the game was everything we wanted it to be. A Kraken victory on home ice, punctuated with the not-so-wintry fragrance of garlic fries? An absolute joy. (It doesn’t hurt either that it was an unusually temperate winter classic – very grateful here in the PNW we didn’t have to contend with 8 degree temps!) 

Following the game, my parents caught their train back to the South Sound 45 minutes after the game, and I was able to board my bus back north to head home to Greenwood.  

Check the special event service calendar to see when Sounder will be running next!