Looking Back to Look Ahead

2. Dec. 4, 2018: NHL awards 32nd franchise

Meeting at Sea Island, GA, the NHL Board of Governors votes unanimously to approve Seattle as the 32nd team for the 2021-22 season. Sea Island and eventually the Kraken? Of course.

3. Dec. 5, 2018: No time to waste: New arena breaks ground

Just one day after official word from the NHL, Oak View Group, led by CEO Tim Leiweke, and NHL Seattle break ground on what is now Climate Pledge Arena. 

4. April 24, 2019: Franchise announces annual Guyle Fielder Award

Guyle Fielder, the greatest player in Seattle pro hockey WHL history, returns to town to be honored. Former NHL Seattle senior adviser Dave Tippett (now coach of division rival Edmonton) announces the Kraken will annually choose a player deserving of the Guyle Fielder Award for leadership and fair play.   

5. July 1, 2019: Hockey analytics expert Mandrycky is first hockey ops hire

NHL Seattle hires Alexandra Mandrycky as director of hockey administration. Her analytics work will play a major role in shaping everything from the opening night roster for the 2021-22 season to who’ll be the first general manager. 

6. July 17, 2019: The search is over: Hall of Famer Ron Francis named GM

NHL Seattle tabs Ron Francis for the all-important job of building a hockey team and, not to be underappreciated, an entire hockey operations organization. Two-time Stanley Cup winner and Hall of Famer Francis oversees player personnel, coaching staff, amateur and pro scouting, player development, analytics, sports science and AHL minor league operations.  

7. Sept. 3, 2019: Assistant GM Ricky Olczyk joins Francis in Seattle

NHL Seattle names Ricky Olczyk as its assistant general manager. Olczyk joins NHL Seattle from the Toronto Maple Leafs where he was a pro scout for the 2018-19 season. He previously spent four seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes as an assistant general manager alongside GM Francis.  

8. Sept. 24, 2019: First five pro scouts on board, including first-ever woman in role

Five pro scouts join the fold to begin the process of evaluating which players to select in the 2021 Expansion Draft. The group includes U.S. Olympic gold medalist Cammi Granato; two-time Stanley Cup winner Ulf Samuelsson (since departed to become an NHL assistant coach with the Florida Panthers); 16-season NHL player and four-year NHL assistant coach Stu Barnes (who recently accepted the head coaching job of the WHL Tri-City Americans, which he co-owns); long-time NHL scout Dave Hunter and expert amateur evaluator John Goodwin. Granato becomes the NHL’s first female pro scout.

9. Sept. 30, 2019: American Hockey League awards affiliate to Seattle

Following in the skate strides of Seattle, Palm Springs becomes the 32nd franchise in the American Hockey League. The AHL Board of Governors votes unanimously to approve the expansion application of NHL Seattle and Oak View Group to place its primary development affiliate in the renowned southern California desert town. The team begins play in the 2022-2023 season in a brand-new arena in the Coachella Valley. 

10. Feb. 25, 2020: Kraken buy into Monorail, subsidizes public transit to all games

As part of a comprehensive, next-generation transportation plan for fans attending events at the New Arena at Seattle Center, NHL Seattle announces two significant actions: One, the franchise is entering into a partnership with the Seattle Monorail which includes making capital improvements. Two, NHL Seattle will offer subsidized public transit for all fans attending hockey games at Climate Pledge Arena. 

11. April 14, 2020: Kraken, OVG donate $1 million for pandemic relief

The Kraken and Oak View Group donate $1 million to aid those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: $800,000 goes to the United Way of King County’s Community Relief Fund to support the city’s expanded grocery voucher program. The other $200,000 provides grants to 21 Seattle Center Arts and nonprofit organizations including the Seattle Opera, Children’s Museum, Pacific Science Center and International Film Festival. 

12. June 24, 2020: What’s in a name? Zero-carbon promise for Climate Pledge Arena

The new arena gets a permanent ID: Climate Pledge Arena, as announced by Oak View Group, NHL Seattle and Amazon in what promises to be nothing short of a transformational partnership for the city and Pacific Northwest, sports and entertainment industries-and the planet. The partnership was formed to make Climate Pledge Arena the first zero-carbon arena in the world.

13. July 23, 2020: Say it with us: Release the Kraken!

Team CEO Tod Leiweke reveals the team name and connection to city and region in front of the construction crew inside Climate Pledge Arena, plus a livestream audience of fans. The wait is over. The 32nd franchise in the National Hockey League will be known as the Seattle Kraken.

14. Aug. 11, 2020: General seat selection for ticket plans begins

Hold on to your hat tricks, Kraken ticket depositors. The general seat selection process begins and it features more than 40 different seating options and prices as part of the most innovative ticket plan ever rolled out for sports fans. “We created a ticket plan to reward our depositors and give them all the chance to be part of the most intimate seating bowl in the NHL,” says Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke. “This franchise is forever indebted to our 32,000 deposit holders who stood with us to show the NHL we are a hockey town with an exclamation point.”

15. Aug. 21, 2020: Kraken retail store opens at Chandler’s Cove

The largest assortment of Seattle Kraken merchandise goes on sale at 9 a.m. when the team opens its first retail store at Chandler’s Cove. A second Kraken store was opened in Bellevue in later 2020 and the third team store just opened at the Kraken Community Iceplex in the Northgate neighborhood Thursday. 

16. Sept. 21, 2020: Net proceeds from ‘Release the Kraken’ gear donated to nonprofits

The Seattle Kraken announces it donated all net proceeds from its inaugural “Release the Kraken” apparel and gear line to three local nonprofit organizations that support homeless youth and young people of color. The Kraken awarded a check for $285,000 to YouthCare and $60,000 each to Community Passageways and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. 

17. Oct. 25, 2020: Kraken adds trainer, strength coach, equipment manager, video analyst

The Kraken announced the hiring of head athletic trainer Mike Booi, head strength and conditioning coach Nate Brookreson, head equipment manager Jeff Camelio and head video analyst Tim Ohashi. 

18. Oct. 30, 2020: Kraken hires amateur scouting staff, preparing for 2021 Entry Draft

GM Ron Francis announces he has persuaded former Carolina teammate and front-office colleague Robert Kron to join Seattle as director of amateur scouting. Kron puts together an impressive group of new hires: Mike Dawson, ex-head North American amateur scout for Carolina; Darren Yopyk, former co-director of amateur scouting with Minnesota; Jeff Crisp, a 21-year NHL scout from Buffalo; Tom O’Connor, ex-Buffalo scout; and Tony MacDonald, who has 27 seasons of NHL scouting experience with the Los Angeles, Hartford and Carolina.

19. Jan. 5, 2021: Assistant GM, director of player personnel join front office

Former Buffalo GM Jason Botterill is hired as assistant general manager while long-time Chicago executive Norm MacIver is named director of player personnel. Both have won Stanley Cups as hockey executives (Botterill as assistant GM in Pittsburgh, MacIver with Blackhawks dynasty) 

20. Jan 26, 2021: Renown TV play-by-play man John Forslund signs with Kraken, ROOT

“Hey, hey, whaddya say!” John Forslund and his famed catch phrase moves to Seattle’s TV booth (via newly announced partner, ROOT SPORTS) after calling NHL games for the Hartford Whalers-turned-Carolina Hurricanes for 25 years. Radio broadcaster Everett Fitzhugh became the NHL’s first Black play-by-play announcer when Seattle hired him in August 2020 and former NHL forward JT Brown joins Forslund as TV analyst in June 2021.

21. April 30, 2021: Kraken makes final expansion fee payment, officially NHL’s 32nd team

The Kraken completes its final steps to become a full-fledged and official 32nd franchise of the National Hockey League. Team owners, leaders and employees celebrated the moment with pride, excitement, gratitude and a keen sense of mission for days and seasons ahead.

“For all of us, it is a prideful day to complete the multi-year process to become an official member of the NHL and the 32nd franchise,” Kraken majority owner David Bonderman said in a statement Friday. “It is the ultimate testament to our fans for their amazing support and belief and today their dream of Seattle and the NHL comes true.” 

22. May 4, 2021: Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena launch ‘One Roof Foundation’

The Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena launch a foundation as the philanthropic arm to focus effort and resources to end youth homelessness, profoundly expand youth access to hockey and be a working leader for environmental justice. 

23. May 12, 2021: Luke Henman is first player to sign pro contract with Seattle

It’s a milestone day for both the franchise and 21-year-old center Luke Henman. As his junior team captain and leading scorer in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the prospect finished his elite amateur career with 75 goals and 152 assists in 256 regular-season and playoff games. “I am super-excited and honored,” he says by phone after scoring two game-tying goals in a postseason game earlier in the day.

24. June 2: Kraken move up to No. 2 overall pick in NHL Draft Lottery

Two might not be better than No. 1, but the Kraken won the right to pick ahead of 29 other teams in the 30-team first round of the NHL’s upcoming amateur draft. Seattle entered the day with a 10.3 percent probability of landing the No. 2 overall slot. It was three times more likely the Kraken would fall to No. 4 or No. 5. 

25. June 11, 2021: ’32 Bar & Grill’ name reveal at Iceplex in Northgate

It’s fitting the Kraken honor the number 32, as 32,000 fans made it possible to become the NHL’s 32nd franchise. 32 Bar & Grill will open soon, give our fans the ultimate Kraken hockey experience-and another reason to celebrate the number 32. 

26. June 24, 2021: Kraken name Dave Hakstol as first-ever head coach”

This is a dream that has come true,” said new Kraken coach Hakstol, talking to assembled media members at the Edgewater Hotel with Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop and flanked by GM Ron Francis and CEO Tod Leiweke. Hakstol is especially grateful for the opportunity to be part of building from the ground up: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” 

27. June 28: Seattle, Carolina to share AHL player development affiliate for 2021-22 season

In a partnership that will benefit two NHL franchises, an American Hockey League franchise and some-two dozen young players hoping to make the big clubs, the Kraken announced the AHL Charlotte Checkers as their affiliate professional development team for the 2021-22 season in partnership with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. 

28. July 6, 2021: Kraken fill out the coaching staff

When Dave Hakstol was announced as the Kraken’s first head coach in late June, it was clear he was empowered to choose his assistant coaches. His first two selections are Paul McFarland, an NHL assistant coach with Florida and Toronto, and Jay Leach, head coach of the American Hockey League’s Providence franchise, top affiliate of the Boston Bruins. Goalie coach Andrew Allen is officially announced Aug. 10 after serving as a scout evaluating goalies. 

29. July 21, 2021: Kraken, fans ‘pick-nic’ at NHL Expansion Draft

More than 4,000 Kraken faithful filled Gas Works Park and surrounding waters to witness history at the NHL Expansion Draft. The line was hundreds deep by 2:30 p.m., prompting team officials to open the gates an hour early. At 5 p.m., the live TV event commenced to identify 30 players, one each, selected from 30 NHL teams-including six NHLers (D Mark Giordano, D Jamie Oleksiak, G Chris Driedger, F Jordan Eberle, F Brandon Tanev) secretly taking flights to appear live to wild cheers when introduced on stage to fans.

30. July 23-24, 2021: Kraken select Michigan’s Matty Beniers with No. 2 overall draft pick

The inaugural 2021 entry draft class is headlined by University of Michigan forward Matty Beniers, who starred for his college team and Team USA at the World Junior Championship this past winter before holding his own at the men’s World Championships this spring. “We feel with the way Matty skates and how hard he competes each and every night, he certainly has a possibility of making our lineup in the fall,” said GM Ron Francis to NHL Network.

Second-round pick Western Hockey League defenseman Ryker Evans made the entire Kraken amateur scouting staff quite happy. GM Ron Francis explained the scout group was “pounding the tables” to choose Evans. The rest of the class is OHL center Ryan Winterton (3rd round, one of the youngest players in whole draft), Finnish defenseman Ville Ottavainen (4th round, 6-4, 201 pounds), QMJHL forward Jacob Melanson (5th round), Russian goalie Semyon Vyazovoi (6th round) and U.S. national U18 forward Justin Janicke (7th round).

31. July 28, 2021: Kraken sign three big-name players on opening day of NHL Free Agency

It was quite the first-ever opening day for the Kraken and GM Ron Francis. The team agreed to terms with three more big-name unrestricted free agents (UFAs), Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer, St. Louis forward Jaden Schwartz and Florida center Alexander Wennberg. The trio comes exactly a week after the Kraken landed Dallas defenseman and unrestricted free agent Jamie Oleksiak, Edmonton defenseman and UFA Adam Larsson and Florida goalie and restricted free agent Chris Driedger during Seattle’s exclusive window to negotiate with free agents as part of the Expansion Draft process.

32. Sept. 9-10, 2021: Team, founding partner Starbucks open Kraken Community Iceplex

The Kraken Community Iceplex opens to the public Friday with activities for everyone (on and off ice) after Thursday’s grand opening. Speakers from the Kraken and founding partner Starbucks celebrated with local dignitaries, corporate partners, other invited guests and staff.

 

The Kraken Community Iceplex opens to the public this weekend with a flurry of icy activities:

Several public skate sessions; stick-and-puck or try-hockey sessions; figure skating showcase; shop at the newest Kraken Team Store and an off-ice family fun zone with games, prizes, info booths, ball hockey and cool photo opportunities. Check out the details at www.krakencommunityiceplex.com.

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