Kraken is vying to become Seattle’s next beloved sports franchise. Here are three things that all Kraken fans should know

Its history in professional athletics may not be as history as in other major sports cities like New York City or Boston or Chicago, but our team has had their moments.

These moments, and others like them, are the ones Seattle sports fans will cherish forever. We love those moments. And we love the notion that a brand new Seattle franchise now has the opportunity to give us more.

Enter: Seattle Kraken.

The National Hockey League’s newest team now competes with the Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders and Storm in a battle to win the Seattleites’ hearts and minds. They want their iconic Kraken moment. They want to cement themselves in annals of Seattle’s sports history.

The team knows that victories alone are not enough to get them there. They know that the key to being loved is to cultivate a diehard fanbase. They know that for fans, the outcome of a game is not always as important as the experience of the game. Seafarers had Kongens Hof. The Seahawks have it Blue Friday. Sounders have March for the match. These characteristics are what give a franchise its identity, and Kraken is trying to establish theirs.

Seattle PI is here to help. Here are three things every startup Kraken diehard should know about Seattle’s newest – and certainly its next beloved – sports team.

The Kraken recently made waves on social media, but it was not for their performance on the ice.

ONE viral tweet from the NHL shows Kraken goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer, who is handed a stuffed sockeye salmon from a member of the game-night crew, who is dressed in a fishing suit. Grubauer then skates over to the side of the rink and slips the plush into the crowd. Moments later, Kraken striker Brandon Tanev skates out onto the ice and spins another stuffed sockeye over his head before slinging it up into the stands.

The act is Kraken’s unique bid for an NHL tradition after the game, known as the “Three Stars of the Game”, which honors three players from both teams who played exceptionally well. After a game, players will return to the ice to pay tribute to the audience. In some cases, they will autograph a puck or stick and then throw it in the rows closest to the ice.

Kraken tried to continue the league’s postgame tradition of handing out souvenirs, but instead of sticks or pucks, the team wanted something lightweight that the players could throw high up in the stands. Ayron Sequeira, Kraken’s senior director of entertainment, explained it this way:

“If you sit in the first few rows because you are a season card holder, your chance of getting a stick handed to the glass – or to get something that can easily be thrown into the first few rows – is exponentially higher than anyone sitting in the top bowl, “she said.” It’s an experience, but it’s an experience that very few people get, so we tried to find a way to democratize it a little bit. ”

The team considered throwing away t-shirts, but ultimately decided that the concept lacked originality. They looked to local customs for inspiration, and the iconic fishing trip at Pike Place Market gave them an idea.

“We started looking around the area and trying to think of things that Seattle is known for,” Sequeira said. “We were thinking about experiences we had had and we had all walked through the Pike Place Market and seen the fish throwing themselves. So we thought, ‘What if we threw plush salmon?’ ”

Thus, the aftermath of salmon casting was born.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 28: Haydn Fleury # 4 of the Seattle Kraken throws a stuffed salmon into the crowd after being named the game's first star after the 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild at the Climate Pledge Arena on October 28, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Christopher Mast / NHLI via Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 28: Haydn Fleury # 4 of the Seattle Kraken throws a stuffed salmon into the crowd after being named the game’s first star after the 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild at the Climate Pledge Arena on October 28, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast / NHLI via Getty Images)

Christopher Mast / NHLI via Getty Images

The stuffed fish is 22 inches long and weighs about a pound. Their brands show facts about salmon and their relationship to the environment. The team worked with Bristol Bay Native Corp. in Alaska to create a stuffed fish that looks like a real sockeye salmon.

To ensure that the action would not be seen as offensive to indigenous peoples – salmon have great cultural significance for many indigenous nations in the Northwest Pacific – the team ran the idea past a group of consultants before moving on with it.

“We wanted to be respectful of what salmon means to the economy and what they mean to indigenous peoples and to the history of the area,” Sequeira said.

How many salmon are thrown into the crowd depends on how many Kraken players are among those who are honored at the end of a game. “Three stars of the game” is chosen by media representatives of the home team.

Sequeira said the team intends to change the salmon species each season so that each of the five species native to Washington – sockeye, chinook, coho, pink and chum – is represented in the cast at some point. This means that after this season, the stuffed sockeye is unlikely to return to the Climate Pledge Arena until 2026. Sequeira said the species of next year’s salmon is “a closely guarded secret.”

Number 32


Just like the number 12 is the official number for Seahawks fans, the number 32 is the official number for Kraken fans.

The number was given that designation after it was retired last month just before the team’s first home game. Now no Kraken player can ever wear that number on their jersey. Franchisees typically withdraw a number to honor the significant contributions a player has made to their team, but in this case, Kraken wanted to honor the contributions of their fans.

To understand why, we need to go back to 2018.

To establish an expansion franchise in a new city, the NHL needs to know that there will be enough interest in the sport from the locals to make it worthwhile. So when a group called the NHL Seattle approached the league that year with a proposal to bring a new expansion team to Seattle, league officials gave them a task.

They were to collect 10,000 individual deposits of at least $ 500. By paying the deposit, one person told the NHL that they were interested in becoming a season ticket holder if a team were actually to come to Seattle.

The league gave the NHL Seattle six weeks to collect 10,000 deposits. They did it in 12 minutes.

By the end of the first day, the team had received so many deposits that they decided to limit them to 32,000 to ensure they did not oversell. This threshold was chosen as Kraken would be the league’s 32nd team.

But the idea that the number 32 could actually represent Kraken fans, as the number 12 represents Seahawks fans, only began to take root in August, when Kraken jerseys first became available for purchase.

Katie Townsend, a Kraken spokeswoman, said the team noticed that several people who bought custom jerseys – which allow a person to choose the name and number on the back – chose 32 as their number.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 23: Fans arrive for the inaugural home game for the Seattle Kraken as they meet the Vancouver Canucks at the Climate Pledge Arena on October 23, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 23: Fans arrive for the inaugural home game for the Seattle Kraken as they meet the Vancouver Canucks at the Climate Pledge Arena on October 23, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

“We started wondering if it would be like a 12th man thing where that number would become the official number for fans,” Townsend said.

It apparently did, because a massive Kraken jersey with number 32 was hoisted to the rafters by Climate Pledge Arena on October 23, just before the team took the ice in Seattle for the first time. During the ceremony, the team’s CEO Tod Leiweke said the jersey would serve to remind the franchise that it could not exist without the support of its fans.

Townsend agreed.

“The 32,000 fans gave life to this franchise,” she said. “They showed the hockey world that Seattle was ready for a team.”

SEATTLE, WA - 1917: Seattle Metropolitans Stanley Cup winning team in 1917. (top row) Harry Holmes, Bobby Rowe, Ed Carpenter and Jack Walker.  (Middle row) Frank Foyston and manager Pete Muldoon.  (bottom row) Bernie Morris, Cully Wilson, Roy Rickey and Jim Riley.  (Photo by B Bennett / Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WA – 1917: Seattle Metropolitans Stanley Cup winning team in 1917. (top row) Harry Holmes, Bobby Rowe, Ed Carpenter and Jack Walker. (Middle row) Frank Foyston and manager Pete Muldoon. (bottom row) Bernie Morris, Cully Wilson, Roy Rickey and Jim Riley. (Photo by B Bennett / Getty Images)

B Bennett / Getty Images

Those who came before

During their nine seasons as a professional hockey franchise, the Seattle Metropolitans were a force on the ice.

The 112 victories, which totaled between 1915 and 1924, made them the most successful team in the history of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. They were also the first American team to win the Stanley Cup after beating the Montreal Canadiens in a five-game series in 1917.

“Make sure we recognize that the story was something that was in the back of my mind right from the beginning,” Townsend said. “The fans wanted us to recognize that too. I mean, there was a time when ‘The Metropolitans’ was the name choice people kept making for us.”

The team eventually went by a different name, but they did not want to completely ignore the role the Metropolitans played in making Seattle a hockey city in the early part of the 20th century.

The “S” on the front of the Kraken jerseys was inspired by a similar “S” on the front of the Metropolitans jerseys. There is also a large banner hanging from the ceiling at the Climate Pledge Arena, celebrating the Metropolitans’ historic Stanley Cup victory.

“We can not pretend we are the first professional hockey team the city has ever had,” Townsend said. “You have to acknowledge what’s come before, and you have to acknowledge that Seattle has been a hockey city and that there are predecessors who were groundbreaking in their own right.”

One track that the Metropolitans never expected to get to – and one that Kraken certainly never expected to follow more than 100 years later – was that the team managed to have a successful season in 1919 despite playing at the height of the Spanish sick, which was the most deadly. pandemic in American history until the coronavirus pandemic claimed that title in September.

“We see stock footage of people in masks during that time, and here we are going for our inauguration season also in masks,” Townsend said.

That year, the Metropolitans met the Canadiens for the second time in the Stanley Cup final. However, the Canadiens were unable to complete the series after five of their players fell ill on the morning of the sixth game. One died eventually.

The Canadiens offered to relinquish the trophy to the Metropolitans, but the team’s coaching staff declined, saying championships should be won on the ice. It is one of only two times in the history of the Stanley Cup where the trophy was not awarded to a team.

“We will continue to look at other ways we can honor hockey history here,” Townsend said. “It’s important for us not to pretend that we are this brand new shiny object that has brought all this out of ourselves. There’s a story there, and it’s important that we mark it.”



Give a Comment