Seattle Kraken

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Seattle Kraken
2021–22 Seattle Kraken season
Seattle Kraken official logo.svg
ConferenceWestern
DivisionPacific
Founded2021
HistorySeattle Kraken
2021–present
Home arenaClimate Pledge Arena
CitySeattle, Washington
WCP-Uniform-SEA.png
ColorsDeep sea blue, ice blue, boundless blue, shadow blue, red alert[1][2][3]
         
MediaRoot Sports Northwest
Sports Radio 950 KJR
Owner(s)Seattle Hockey Partners
General managerRon Francis
Head coachDave Hakstol
CaptainVacant
Minor league affiliatesCharlotte Checkers (AHL)
Coachella Valley Firebirds (AHL in 2022–23)
Allen Americans (ECHL)
Stanley Cups0
Conference championships0
Presidents' Trophy0
Division championships0
Official websitenhl.com/kraken

The Seattle Kraken are a professional ice hockey team based in Seattle. The Kraken compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference and began play during the league's 2021–22 season. They play their home games at Climate Pledge Arena.

In December 2018, the NHL approved a proposal by Seattle Hockey Partners to grant an expansion franchise to the city of Seattle. In July 2020, the Kraken's name and branding were revealed.[4] The Kraken are the first professional hockey team to play in Seattle since the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League played their last game in 1975, and the first Seattle hockey team to compete for the Stanley Cup since the Seattle Metropolitans, who won the cup in 1917 and folded in 1924. On October 26, 2021, the team raised a banner commemorating the 1917 title team.[5]

History[edit]

Establishment[edit]

The NHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve Seattle's expansion team on December 4, 2018, to begin play in the 2021–22 season as a member of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference. As a result, the Arizona Coyotes were to be shifted from the Pacific Division to the Central Division to balance out the four divisions at eight teams each. The organization hired Ron Francis as their general manager to initiate operations for the team.[6]

On July 23, 2020, the franchise announced their team name, the Seattle Kraken, as well as their team colors, branding, and home jersey.[7] The team's name comes from the mythical kraken of Scandinavian folklore and its resemblance to the native giant Pacific octopus, which is found in the waters of the Puget Sound, near Seattle.[8] On April 30, 2021, the franchise paid the final installment of the $650 million expansion fee, making the Seattle Kraken the 32nd team of the NHL.[9][10]

First season[edit]

On June 24, 2021, the organization hired Dave Hakstol as their inaugural head coach.[11] An expansion draft was held on July 21, 2021, in a similar manner to a previous expansion draft held in 2017 for the Vegas Golden Knights, who were themselves exempt from the 2021 expansion draft.[12][13][14]

During the 2021 preseason, the Kraken played their three home games in the home arenas of three Washington state Western Hockey League teams, the Spokane Chiefs, Everett Silvertips, and Seattle Thunderbirds. On October 11, the Kraken named Mark Giordano the team's first captain.[15] They played their first regular season game on October 12, 2021, a 4–3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Ryan Donato scored the team's first goal. The Kraken's first win came in their second game on October 14, when they defeated the Nashville Predators 4–3.[16]

Giordano played his 1,000th career NHL game for the Kraken on March 5, 2022, becoming the first player to reach 1,000 career games as a member of the team. The team honored him at the Kraken’s next home game, shortly before trading him to the Toronto Maple Leafs.[citation needed] The Kraken finished their inaugural season in last place in the Pacific Division with a 27–49–6 record and 60 points.

Arena[edit]

The team plays home games at Climate Pledge Arena.[17][18] The arena, at Seattle Center, is a $930 million redevelopment of the former KeyArena and Seattle Center Coliseum. Amazon.com bought the naming rights to Climate Pledge Arena and chose to name the venue after its environmental goals.[19]

The Kraken Community Iceplex in Northgate serves as the team's training facility

The team's primary practice facility, named the Kraken Community Iceplex, is located at Northgate Station (formerly Northgate Mall) and opened in September 2021. The facility has three rinks and is open to the public.[20]

The Kraken's three home preseason games prior to the 2021–22 season were held at Spokane Arena, Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, and the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, which are all home to Western Hockey League (WHL) teams. Tickets were sold by the host WHL teams.[21]

The Kraken played their first home game at Climate Pledge Arena on October 23, 2021, a 4–2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Vince Dunn scored the first goal in the arena's history for Seattle.[22] They won their first game in the arena on October 26, 2021, a 5-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens.[23] Their first shutout win at home was a 3–0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on April 29, 2022, the final home game of the inaugural season.[24]

In-arena entertainment[edit]

The Kraken use the horn from the MV Hyak ferry boat as their goal horn. At the first two home games, the Hyak's horn was not yet functional, so the team played a recording of it.[25] The team plays the Nirvana song "Lithium" after every Kraken goal at home.[26]

After their first win at home against the Montreal Canadiens on October 26, the Kraken featured a new postgame tradition during the "Three Stars of the Game" ceremony. Instead of the honored players tossing conventional souvenir pucks or sticks to the fans, they threw a plush stuffed toy sockeye salmon into the crowd to mimic Seattle's Pike Place Market fish toss and what the Northwest wild-caught salmon represents to the state of Washington.[27]

Rod Masters, the organist from the 1977 film Slap Shot, became the organist for the Kraken starting with the team's January 1, 2022 home game. As Climate Pledge Arena does not have an organ, Masters plays music using electronic keyboards.[28]

Broadcasting[edit]

Radio[edit]

Everett Fitzhugh serves as the team's primary radio play-by-play announcer. Fitzhugh had previously done play-by-play for the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones. He is the first full-time play-by-play announcer of African-American heritage in NHL history.[29][30] Former NHL player and Vancouver Canucks broadcaster Dave Tomlinson serves as Fitzhugh's color analyst.[31] Fitzhugh tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the Kraken's first regular-season road trip; on radio broadcasts, TV announcer John Forslund and veteran KJR broadcaster Ian Furness filled in on play-by-play duties.[32]

Kraken games are broadcast on 950 KJR with some games on 96.5 KJAQ.[33][34] Other stations on the "Kraken Audio Network" include 1450 KONP in Port Angeles[35] and KALE in Richland, Washington.

Television[edit]

Kraken games are broadcast regionally on Root Sports Northwest for the team's first five seasons. Former Hartford Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster John Forslund serves as the team's television play-by-play announcer.[30][36] J. T. Brown is the television analyst.[37] Alison Lukan, who normally serves as a studio analyst for Root Sports Northwest, joined Forslund in the TV broadcast booth in March 2022 while Brown was in COVID-19 protocols.[38]

The telecast for the Kraken's February 17, 2022 game against the Winnipeg Jets had Fitzhugh on play-by-play and Brown on color commentary, comprising the first all-Black broadcast booth in NHL history.[39]

In their first season, the Kraken averaged a 0.96 Nielsen rating for games broadcast on Root Sports Northwest. By comparison, the Vegas Golden Knights averaged a 1.87 rating in their first season for games broadcast locally on AT&T Rocky Mountain.[40]

Minor league affiliates[edit]

The Coachella Valley Firebirds, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Kraken, are based in Thousand Palms, California.[41] Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and delays in building Acrisure Arena, the Firebirds will begin play in the 2022–23 season.[42] Acrisure Arena is expected to be ready for hockey in December 2022, so some Firebirds home games early in the 2022–23 season will be played at Climate Pledge Arena.[43]

The Charlotte Checkers, the primary AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers, also served as the AHL affiliate for the Kraken during the 2021–22 season due to the delay in the Kraken's AHL team. The Checkers, an independently owned AHL team, had been the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes while the Kraken's general manager Ron Francis was working for the Hurricanes.[44]

Season-by-season record[edit]

This is a list of the seasons completed by the Kraken. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Seattle Kraken seasons.

GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2021–22 82 27 49 6 60 216 285 8th, Pacific Did not qualify

Players and personnel[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Updated May 2, 2022[45][46]

No. Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
10 United States Matty Beniers C L 19 2021 Hingham, Massachusetts
3 United States Will Borgen D R 25 2021 Moorhead, Minnesota
9 United States Ryan Donato C L 26 2021 Scituate, Massachusetts
72 Finland Joonas Donskoi RW R 30 2021 Raahe, Finland
60 Canada Chris Driedger G L 28 2021 Winnipeg, Manitoba
29 Canada Vince Dunn D L 25 2021 Mississauga, Ontario
7 Canada Jordan Eberle (A) RW R 32 2021 Regina, Saskatchewan
4 Canada Haydn Fleury D L 25 2021 Carlyle, Saskatchewan
67 Canada Morgan Geekie C R 23 2021 Strathclair, Manitoba
37 Canada Yanni Gourde (A) C L 30 2021 Saint-Narcisse, Quebec
31 Germany Philipp Grubauer G L 30 2021 Rosenheim, Germany
25 United States Karson Kuhlman C R 26 2022 Esko, Minnesota
6 Sweden Adam Larsson (A) D R 29 2021 Skellefteå, Sweden
73 Canada Kole Lind RW L 23 2021 Swift Current, Saskatchewan
16 Canada Jared McCann C L 25 2021 Stratford, Ontario
24 Canada Jamie Oleksiak D L 29 2021 Toronto, Ontario
51 Canada Derrick Pouliot D L 28 2022 Estevan, Saskatchewan
49 Sweden Victor Rask C L 29 2022 Leksand, Sweden
17 Canada Jaden Schwartz (A) LW L 29 2021 Melfort, Saskatchewan
15 Canada Riley Sheahan C L 30 2021 St. Catharines, Ontario
28 Canada Carson Soucy D L 27 2021 Irma, Alberta
91 Netherlands Daniel Sprong RW R 25 2022 Amsterdam, Netherlands
13 Canada Brandon Tanev Injured Reserve LW L 30 2021 Toronto, Ontario
21 Sweden Alexander Wennberg C L 27 2021 Nacka, Sweden


Owners[edit]

The team is owned by Seattle Hockey Partners, an organization consisting of David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer and Tod Leiweke.[47] Minority owners of the Kraken include Chris Ackerley, Ted Ackerley, Jay Deutsch, Mitch Garber, Adrian Hanauer, Andy Jassy, Marshawn Lynch, Macklemore,[48] Len Potter, Sam Slater,[49] David Wright, and Jeff Wright.[50][51][52]

Ron Francis and Dave Hakstol are serving as the Kraken franchise's first general manager and head coach, respectively

General managers[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

Captains[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

  • 32 was retired on October 23, 2021, immediately before the team played their first regular season home game, in recognition of the team being the 32nd to join the NHL and in honor of the 32,000 fans who placed deposits for tickets on the first possible day.[54]
  • 99 was retired by the NHL for all its member teams in honor of Wayne Gretzky at the 2000 National Hockey League All-Star Game.[55]

Player awards[edit]

The Kraken have four player awards that are given after each season. The Kraken's most valuable player, as voted on by Seattle-area media, receives the Pete Muldoon Award. The player with the most mentions in the three stars of each Kraken home game, computed using a points system, wins the Three Stars of the Year Award. The Guyle Fielder Award goes to the teammate who best exemplifies "perseverence, hustle and dedication" as voted upon by their teammates and coaches. The Fan Favorite Award goes to a player who wins a fan vote.[56][57]

Franchise records[edit]

Yanni Gourde is second all-time in franchise goals, assists and points.

Scoring leaders[edit]

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.[58]

  •  *  – current Kraken player

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game

Individual records[edit]

  • Most goals in a season: Jared McCann, 27 (2021–22)
  • Most assists in a season: Vince Dunn, 28 (2021–22)
  • Most points in a season: Jared McCann, 50 (2021–22)
  • Most points in a season, defenseman: Vince Dunn, 35 (2021–22)
  • Most points in a season, rookie: Matty Beniers (2021–22); Will Borgen (2021–22); Kole Lind (2021–22), 8
  • Most penalty minutes in a season: Jérémy Lauzon, 67 (2021–22)
  • Best +/– in a season: Carson Soucy, +7 (2021–22)
  • Most wins in a season: Philipp Grubauer, 18 (2021–22)
  • Most shutouts in a season: Philipp Grubauer, 2 (2021–22)
  • Lowest GAA in a season: Chris Driedger, 2.96 (2021–22)
  • Highest SV% in a season: Chris Driedger, 0.899 (2021–22)

References[edit]

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  55. ^ "Perfect setting: Gretzky's number retired before All-Star Game". CNN Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. February 6, 2000. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
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External links[edit]