Meet The Thunderbirds Family: John Barr

Brian Liesse

Team photographer Brian Liesse is introducing T-Birds fans to those connected to the team whose contributions might not be readily visible. We are excited about this project because we get to highlight those that make T-Bird hockey possible through their hard work and dedication to the team and the sport of hockey. We look forward to introducing you to T-Birds staff, accesso ShoWare Center staff, Booster Club members, Game Night Staff, Media, and others who help us celebrate and promote the team and the sport in the Pacific Northwest. Each person highlighted has answered a questionnaire about what they do with the team or how they are connected to the team,and some personal highlights. Brian took the photos of each person in their T-Bird environment.

What do you do for/with the Thunderbirds?

I started the grassroots campaign, NHLtoSeattle roughly 10 years ago. As part of that effort, one of my goals was to grow the hockey community in the region which meant connecting with all hockey focused organizations in the area which includes the Seattle Thunderbird and connecting hockey fans to the Seattle Thunderbirds. I do my best to promote all aspects of hockey across the community.

How long have you been working for/with the Thunderbirds? 

I originally got involved with the Thunderbirds when I participated in the RMHC Hockey Challenge, which they hosted back in 2005. It was not until 2010 when I started the NHLtoSeattle campaign and started engaging with hockey fans more proactively.

What is your favorite aspect of what it is you do for/with the Thunderbirds?

The fans! This journey has been quite the roller coaster, but the fan community has been the fuel behind the movement. I’ve met some great people along the way and always enjoy running into fans or meeting new fans at T-Birds games or other Seattle hockey events. Years ago, it was conversations on how we make the NHL expanding to Seattle a reality, which then became the NHLtoSeattle campaign, and now it is hugs, high-fives, and “celebrating”.

What is the most challenging aspect of what you do for/with the Thunderbirds?

Being patient. I always want to do more to build the hockey fan base in the area. I’ve knocked on a lot of figurative doors and had those doors shut in my face a lot. But I needed to press on because I believed in this growing hockey community. The Seattle Thunderbirds have always been supportive of the NHLtoSeattle efforts and building the fan base.

What is your favorite Thunderbirds memory?

The last home game of the 2017 WHL Playoffs. It was Mathew Barzal’s last T-Birds game. He had 2 goals in that game and the 7-4 victory would put Seattle up 3 games to 2 in the Final with the last two games to be played in Regina. Barzal looked so elite in that game and the T-Birds looked so dominant that it felt like the championship was inevitable.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions? 

Nope. Never been superstitious.

Are you excited for an NHL team to come to Seattle? 

Hmmm…what do you think?

What do you enjoy doing when not working for/with the Thunderbirds? 

Hockey. I like playing hockey, watching hockey, and introducing others to hockey

What position do you/would you play if you were to play hockey?

I play forward, but I did recently put on some goalie gear to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle. I don’t think I will have much shot to be the NHL’s Emergency Back Up Goalie anytime soon.

Who are the Thunderbirds biggest rivals?

Portland, but Everett is closing in on them.

Where can we find you on social media?

Twitter: @NHLtoSeattle
Instagram: @NHLtoSeattle
Podcast: Sound of Hockey

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