Kraken arena in Seattle ready for home opener against Canucks


SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken’s home is ready for hockey.

Climate Pledge Arena will host the expansion team’s first home game Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, CBC, CITY, TVAS2), and media members were given a tour Wednesday. 

Among the arena’s features are a living wall, 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.  

The living wall has live plants with greenery hanging overhead. Having two suspended scoreboards is a first for a professional arena, according to the architect, Populous. Forty luxury suites line the arena bowl along with 19 Tunnel Club suites, which give fans a close-up view of the players. 

The Kraken dressing room is complete with a giant “S” logo on the ceiling. The dressing room stalls were empty Wednesday because the players have yet to visit; they won’t do so until Saturday because of a Coldplay concert at the arena Friday. (The building opened with a concert by Foo Fighters on Tuesday.)

Before heading to their seats, fans will walk past a video board with a virtual waterfall. The board can be updated depending on the event.

“This feature allows us to change the images and offer our guests a unique experience,” Climate Pledge Arena vice president of marketing Rosie Selle said.

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

Capacity at the arena is 17,100 for hockey, 17,200 for concerts and 18,100 for basketball; it 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, estimated to cost $1.15 billion, is set to become the first arena 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 in 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.

“I’m proud that we have a chance to really have an impact on a mission-critical issue,” Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke said when the name of the arena was announced June 25, 2020. “Most buildings get named. Very few have the privilege of naming it after something that you can truly impact our community but perhaps set an example for the rest of the world [with], and that’s our opportunity.”

Seattle (1-3-1) completed a five-game road trip with a 4-2 loss at the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

Photos: Chris Daniels, KING 5 News, and Andy Eide, independent correspondent 

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