Last night, we finally saw the inside of the NHL’s 32nd arena. The Seattle Kraken hosted the Vancouver Canucks in their brand new Climate Pledge Arena. Though they were disappointed to lose 4-2, there’s still a lot to be said for what we witnessed. Here are a few [more] reasons to be excited about the Kraken for the future.
We’ll start on the outside. I’m not from Seattle personally, but I’m from Connecticut, so I know a thing or two about a city or state’s nostalgia for their past sports teams. It’s Seattle’s nostalgia for the SuperSonics from the NBA that gave the city an attachment to the unique roof of what used to be the Seattle Center Coliseum. In honor of that, the roof and exterior were preserved and built around. Because of that, the CPA is probably the most unique building in the NHL.
It’s a low roof, relative to other arenas. In order to preserve it, they had to get innovative with their building plans. Thus, the center of the arena, as well as the majority of the building, is underground. This means that instead of riding the escalators up to the balcony seats like you have to at TD Garden, for example, fans ride escalators down to their seats.
And just a small, fun fact in addition to the history of the roof: rainwater from the roof is collected and used to make the ice. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I love that a) because it’s making good use of what it already has and not creating more waste, and b) because it’s an active way to stand behind the name “Climate Pledge.”
It’s too early to tell just how toxic Seattle fans will be in the long run, if they’ll throw things at their own players (a la Philly in the 2016 playoffs) or cheer like normal human beings. (Let’s assume, for my sake, that disgusting fight in the Nashville stands was a lone belligerent drunk who just so happened to be wearing a Kraken jersey.) For now, we can enjoy and share in their excitement for the team.
In 2018, 32,000 Seattle sports fans put down deposits for an unnamed Seattle ice hockey franchise. Last night, 17,151 of them completely sold out the arena. They were so loud, it was difficult to hear the goal horn or Nirvana’s “Lithium” on the broadcast. Among those cheering were some big Seattle names, like rapper Mackelmore, WNBA superstar Sue Bird, R&B legend Ciara, Ann Wilson from the band Heart, and Seahawks players Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, and Bobby Wagner.
This was a city hungry for another professional sports team. Seeing so many people excited for hockey gives me hope. Not every person in the stands last night may have come in as a hockey fan, but I’ll bet they all left excited for the next game.
We got our second taste of the NHL’s newest rivalry last night. Vancouver and Seattle being just a stone’s throw away from each other make them an obvious choice for a rivalry. Objectively speaking, it’s not super difficult to piss of a Canucks fan. So if the Kraken do well, this may get more heated than the Battle of Alberta. A Battle at the Border, if you will.
They’ve split their two matchups now, 1-1. They’ll meet again three more times in the regular season (12/27, 1/1, and 4/26), but I’ll bet by their next game we’ll start to see the extra oomph in play.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention once again how absolutely sick their jerseys are. Add it to the list of exciting things.
It’s interesting to me how wildly different this expansion team feels compared to how Vegas felt. It was exciting for Vegas fans to get a team, but after that, things fell pretty flat for me. The name was meh, I don’t really like their jerseys, and there was no clear rival when the Kings and Ducks are within spitting distance of each other. Their true-to-form Vegas theatrics were the real hook.
Well, if you couldn’t tell, I like change, so seeing the Kraken finally step on home ice really solidified the 32nd team for me. After seeing the city come together and honestly seeing the cool design of Climate Pledge Arena, I hope to one day catch a Kraken game there. In the meantime, I’ll continue to keep track of them and the exciting things they do.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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