Kraken arena officially opens with ribbon-cutting ceremony


SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken’s arena is officially open.

Climate Pledge Arena held a ribbon-cutting Friday ahead of the expansion team’s first home game, which takes place there Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, CBC, CITY, TVAS2).

“Thank you, Seattle, for inviting us to your home, making us feel so welcome and making NHL hockey in Seattle a great success,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We’re all looking forward to tomorrow night and the first home game. Let’s make a little history.”


[RELATED: Kraken home opener latest chapter in Seattle’s hockey history]


Other speakers included Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke, and other local and state officials. The event opened with a blessing of the ground by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, who are community partners with the Kraken.

The arena is holding its first public event Friday with a concert by Coldplay. Foo Fighters performed at a private event Tuesday.

Construction of the arena began in February of 2018 on the site of Seattle Center Coliseum, which was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and renamed KeyArena in 1994. As part of the project, the 44-million-pound roof that covered KeyArena was preserved by suspending it with columns while 680,000 cubic yards of soil were removed underneath.

Capacity is 17,100 for hockey, 17,200 for concerts and 18,100 for basketball; the arena will also be home to the Seattle Storm of the WNBA. To reach those capacities, builders had to dig down 50 feet, and the result was a 740,000-square-foot building, almost twice the size of Key Arena. 

Climate Pledge Arena cost $1.15 billion and was privately financed by Oak View Group, which also oversaw construction.

“I want to thank everyone for believing in us, everyone for trusting in us, everyone for hanging in there,” said Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, brother of Tod. “You’ve all been unbelievably generous with your belief and faith. We’re now about to reward you with the world’s greatest arena, or at least one of the world’s great arenas. [We are] very appreciative of the city of Seattle.”

Video: Kraken are set to host home opener on Saturday night

The arena is set to become the first in the world to earn a net zero carbon certification from the International Living Future Institute. There are solar panels on portions of the roof, and the ice for the rink will come from collected rainwater.

The name is modeled on The Climate Pledge, which was created by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019 and calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040.

Among the arena’s features are a living wall with live plants and greenery hanging overhead; a spacious home dressing room; two suspended scoreboards; luxury suites; and a club that allows fans to view the Kraken walking to and from the ice.

Because of the Coldplay concert, the Kraken were not able to practice in the building Thursday or Friday. They’ll get their first look inside it Saturday morning.   

“It’s exciting,” forward Brandon Tanev said Tuesday. “It’s our home building. We’ll be playing in front of a great fan base. We’ve heard tons about it. We’re super excited.”

Seattle (1-3-1) completed a five-game road trip with a 4-2 loss at the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. senior writer Dan Rosen contributed to this report

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