Seattle gets Kraken on new NHL team

Preparations made, mascot decided for franchise

Daniel Newman, Sports Editor

The game of hockey is a delicate balancing act of physics. The players have to keep their balance on the ice while the opposition tries to knock them over, guide the puck with a stick toward the net and hit the puck into the exact right place to get it into the net and past the goalie. 

Seattle Pacific University Graduate student and hockey fan Jacob Cain says that hockey is a game of inches, and that’s one of the reasons that he loves it the most.

Climate Pledge Arena, formerly Key Arena is currently under construction with an anticipated completion date of summer 2021. (Digital Rendering courtesy of Seattle Kraken)

A junior ice hockey team, originally known as the Seattle Breakers, has been in town since 1977.  The team has changed both names and locations over the years, as they became the Thunderbirds in 1985, and moved their home arena 20 miles South to Kent, Washington in 2009. 

Ten years later, the National Hockey League announced that it was granting a professional franchise to the city of Seattle for the 2021-22 season. Before this happened, many preparations had to be made by the city of Seattle itself. Both a practice facility and an arena to play the games in were needed. 

The final beam of the practice arena was recently installed in August 2020 in the Northgate neighborhood, and the arena will open in the summer of 2021. Meanwhile, the city got to work on renovating the building formerly known as Key Arena, which was the home of basketball’s Seattle Supersonics for 33 years. The arena was renamed Climate Pledge Arena in June 2020.

A goal of the renovation was for the arena to become the first net zero carbon arena in the world. There are plans in place to reuse rainwater and eliminate single use plastics, as well as plans to limit time spent in line by allowing fans to place concession orders from their phones. 

The building itself is also changing. Workers have dug a space for the ice about 60 feet below ground level, and the arena is designed to be a total of 800,000 square feet, doubling the size of the old arena. 

This added space allows Kraken fans plenty of room to pack in when the team begins playing in 2021. The team held a season ticket drive in 2018 to see how many people were willing to pay to support the team. The goal was 10,000 pledges. They reached that goal in 12 minutes, and ended up hitting the 25,000 mark by the end of the day.

Cain believes that the amount of tickets sold shows just how many people are passionate about hockey coming to the city of Seattle.

“Fans are clearly here, and ready for a professional team, but now we have the unifying force and amplify our voices,” Cain said in an email.

Cain is excited to finally be able to put on the jersey of his local team and be proud of the team, no matter how well they play, as well as being able to continue the bond that he shares with his dad and his brother through the sport of hockey. 

Sophomore Chris Moroney, who played hockey for 11 years, loves the adrenaline and intensity that comes with the game. He is also excited for what’s to come for the team. 

I’m most excited for Seattle to have another team that can compete and represent the city. I think Seattle is one of the most passionate cities in the United States, and I think this is a great way to represent Seattle,” Moroney said in an email.

Construction worker stands in front of the stadium that is being worked on
Construction of the new arena has included preserving the historic roof

Even those who weren’t invested in the sport of hockey before the announcement are excited to watch the team play, like junior Quinn Laulainen. Sports give her a certain sense of community, even if she is not the biggest sports fan.  

It’s something new and exciting in the realm of sports and I think people will come to enjoy a sport they have not necessarily paid attention to before,” Laulainen said in an email. “I personally have never taken the time to watch hockey, but will be sure to tune in and see how entertaining the games are.”

On July 23, the Seattle hockey team’s name was released, with the Kraken, the fabled sea monster, becoming the team’s final mascot choice. Some fans prefer the name more than others. 

Laulainen thinks that Kraken makes the team sound tough and thinks it makes more sense than other Seattle area sports names, like the Mariners.

While also agreeing that the name sounds fierce, Cain and Moroney do not think the name is a good enough representation of the Pacific Northwest. 

The Kraken is from Norse mythology and would only be present in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Pacific,” Cain said.

“My favorite name from consideration was the “Sockeyes”, as I feel that is much more of a Seattle theme,” Moroney said. “But as far as I understood there was a copyright issue with that.”

The new logo for the team is a blue S shaped like a Kraken. 

I think the team’s logo is great! The colors are very PNW in terms of the blue, and I think it was clever how they made the “S” the kraken as well,” Laulainen said. 

Cain, Moroney and Laulainen also approve of the secondary logo, an anchor with the shape of the space needle at the top. 

Cain is most excited about the fact that a professional hockey team is finally coming to Seattle. He hopes that Seattle Pacific students and faculty members will give it a chance and become invested now that there is a team locally.

This could be a unique opportunity to see the hockey community and sport from a more intimate perspective,” Cain said. “We have a team in our backyard now. People may learn and see things about the sport that you would miss from watching a team from some other city on a TV screen.”