Brandon Tanev said he has heard enough about Climate Pledge Arena to believe he has an idea of what it will be like inside the Seattle Kraken’s rebuilt home arena Saturday.
“The acoustics in the building itself will make it a really loud building,” the Kraken forward said prior to a 4-2 loss at the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. “You’re down several feet below the ground floor and there are two Jumbotrons. Those are pretty special and unique things we have.”
Builders dug down about 50 feet to expand the arena’s footprint. There are two suspended scoreboards, a first for a professional arena. The acoustics are supposed to be exceptional. It’s expected to be loud inside.
But Tanev, his teammates and coaches have never seen any of it or heard a single fan cheer inside their home building because none of them have been inside it as a finished product.
Their first time will be the morning skate Saturday in advance of the Kraken’s historic home opener against the Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, CBC, CITY, TVAS2, NHL LIVE).
The entrance to the building, the home dressing room, the trainer’s rooms, the ice itself, it’ll all be brand new to the Kraken, who went 1-3-1 on a five-game road trip that concluded Tuesday.
“It’ll be a special moment, an amazing opportunity and everybody is going to be excited for it,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “In terms of the building, we won’t have a great familiarity with it. That’s an interesting challenge in this situation but at the same time I believe it’ll be one that we’re just excited to have that opportunity.”
Tanev, forward Jordan Eberle, defensemen Jamie Oleksiak, Haydn Fleury and Mark Giordano, and goalie Chris Driedger all got a tour of the building while it was still being renovated when they were in Seattle for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21.
Seats were still being bolted in. Concrete had been poured, but there was no ice.
“But we went through it and saw how special it could be and is going to be,” Tanev said.
The Kraken also saw some of what their fan base is going to be like when they played preseason games in surrounding Washington cities, Spokane, Everett and Kent.
It was eye-opening to them.
“Vegas and Winnipeg have two of the louder buildings in the League and I think in Seattle, we’re going to have one of those buildings where it rivals those two buildings,” Tanev said.
The excitement for Saturday has been building for years since the city of Seattle was granted an expansion team by the NHL Board of Governors on Dec. 4, 2018. A day later, ground was broken on renovating the site of the former Seattle Center Coliseum, which was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and renamed Key Arena in 1994.
The downtown arena was completely gutted and rebuilt under the historic 44-million-pound roof that was suspended by columns. Total costs were originally estimated to be near $650 million. The final price tag was $1.15 billion.
Climate Pledge Arena will seat 17,100 for hockey games and 17,200 for concerts.
Foo Fighters opened the building with a small concert Tuesday. Coldplay is scheduled to play the venue Friday, which is why the Kraken can’t skate there before Saturday.
They are scheduled to practice in the building Sunday and Monday in advance of hosting the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be one of those experiences, we’re going to walk in in the morning on Saturday and we’re going to be checking it out for the first time,” Tanev said. “It’s exciting. 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.”
The Kraken are also hoping the energy from their home fans on what will be a memorable night will help catapult them toward some sustained success after their disappointing start.
“It’s going to be new for everyone, another new thing, but I’m super excited,” Seattle forward Yanni Gourde said. “I think it’s going to be super loud. I honestly can’t wait to see the building. … That calendar date was circled for a while for me. Hopefully we can win and go from there.”