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Storm Fans Open Hearts at City Hall

Jonathan Tallariti, storm.wnba.com | February 6, 2008
Making the trek halfway across the country and moving to a new city far away from family and friends can be difficult to cope with. For Denise Kilgore, that was not the case, because when she came to live in Seattle from Houston, the Seattle Storm were here for her from the beginning.

On Tuesday evening, as the sun peaked behind the buildings in downtown Seattle, Kilgore was one of many Seattle Storm fans who came to City Hall amidst a busy schedule to support the team.

Fans opened their hearts to City Councilmember’s to show how much the Storm means to them and the entire surrounding communities, including Kilgore who walked from her seat wearing a Seattle Storm shirt to the podium, where she addressed the Councilmember’s and told them her story about moving to Seattle from Texas.

Fans are hoping the Councilmember’s will approve a proposed lease that will keep the Storm playing in the SeattleCenter at KeyArena for the long-term.

For Kilgore, the Storm have meant a great deal for her over the years.

“I was a season-ticket holder literally before I packed the moving van to move up here,” Kilgore said. “It’s just important to keep them around. It’s what I do all summer.”

Kilgore praised the entire Storm team for what they bring to our society.

“The girls are such phenomenal roll models,” “Every single WNBA player has graduated from college. You want your girls; you want your boys to grow up emulating these young ladies on the court. It’s an amazing thing to keep them here. They are strongly tied to the community and all of the non-profits they interact with and bring support to. It’s worth keeping.”

She is also thankful for the new owners for all they have done and what they will do in the future.

“They totally revitalized the fan base,” she said. “We are so incredibly thankful to Force 10 Hoops to step forward and keep our girls here. We can’t say thank you enough.”

The feeling was not the same for Kilgore during last season, but now that there has been a change in owners, it has changed her outlook on what is to come.

“Last year there was so much uncertainty.” “Will the storm stay, will they go, whats going to happen. This year we have local ownership; we have our girls.” “The momentum is huge; we know they are ours from this point forward. “It's just time to support and we’re all there.”

Judith Prinz was also at City Hall to help raise awareness about what the Storm mean to her.

“It’s really exciting that the women bought them and now that we’re independent,” Prinz said. “I just want to show any kind of support to help keep them here and get them in a place where they can play that is in the city.”

Prinz has also noticed a pick-up in the number of people who want to jump on board with the Storm next season.

“I was surprised actually to here from so many other women who weren’t season ticket holders yet who know plan to be,” Prinz said. “I didn’t know it would make that much difference that women had bought the team, but it does. Just in the last few days we have had four of our friends who are now going to be season ticket holders because women bought the team.”

Dr. Ben Noble spoke first at City Hall to the many Storm Fans, as he gave a brief background on the two sections of the resolution that will be decided on.

Councilmember Jean Godden had heard from several Storm supporters, even those who couldn’t be at City Hall on Tuesday evening. She said she has been impressed with emails she has received and the enthusiasm that has surrounded the Seattle Storm.

The microphone was then turned over, so people from around the city could give their own reasons why they believe the Storm should have a new lease at KeyArena. Nearly a dozen people spoke on their reasons for wanting the Storm to remain located at KeyArena in the years to come.

Anne Levinson, one of the four owners who make up Force 10 Hoops L.L.C., was in attendance and recognized the amount of Storm fan’s who came out to stand by the teams side.

“It was wonderful to have a hearing, where everybody was supportive of what we are trying to do,” Levinson said. “It was nice to see both new fans and fans who have been here from the very beginning and to see the support that the Councilmember’s have. It was an all around successful evening.”

Levinson called the fan support at City Hall “Very important,” as the Council is nearing a decision.

“Councilmember’s really do want to know what the community thinks," she said. "They want to make sure that what they are doing is consistent with what the public would like to see done. This kind of involvement is great. We are very appreciative of it and I know that the city is appreciative of receiving it.”

James Donaldson, who played college basketball at Washington State University, before moving onto a successful 14-year career in the NBA was at City Hall on Tuesday to see what the latest news was for the Storm.

“I wanted to make sure that I heard in, listened in and possibly chimed in a little bit on the fate of the Seattle Storm and their ability to make things go and be a success at KeyArena,” Donaldson said. “It’s wonderful to see that the Seattle City Council is seriously considering providing all the assist and aid everything else it will take to make them a success at KeyArena."

Donaldson has been paying attention to the Storm for several years now and follows them quite closely.

“I have been watching them since their inaugural season several years ago; watched through the championship season three or four years ago,” Donaldson said. “They have had great teams; great fan support. The community is really following and they have a nice mix, a nice diverse mix of support that comes to the games.”

On Friday, Feb. 8 the Committee will vote on the Storm Resoultion at 9:30. Fifteen minutes has been set aside for public testimony before the vote.

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