Seattle Kraken takes to the ice at Climate Pledge Arena

Climate Pledge Arena, the new home of the Seattle Kraken, staged its first game on Saturday night as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hailed the opening of the venue as a “great night” for the league.

The 18,000-seat arena staged its first event last Tuesday as hometown rock heroes the Foo Fighters and Death Cab for Cutie played a private concert for partners, people who have been involved in the building of the venue and the bands’ dedicated fan clubs.

Coldplay then officially opened the arena on Friday night before the Kraken, the NHL’s newest team, debuted at the venue on Saturday. Although the Kraken fell to a 4-2 defeat against the Vancouver Canucks, the opening game proved to be a memorable occasion.

“This is a great night,” said Bettman. “Not just for Seattle… It’s a great night for the NHL. We couldn’t be more thrilled and the fan response has been nothing short of phenomenal.”

Climate Pledge Arena, which will also serve as the home of four-time WNBA women’s basketball champion Seattle Storm, has been developed by Oak View Group as part of a privately-financed project.

The arena was built on the site of the former KeyArena in Seattle. The venue broke ground in December 2018 and has undergone a transformation to create a brand-new arena under the historic roof.

Seattle-headquartered Amazon acquired naming rights to the arena last year and will use the home of the city’s new NHL team to promote its climate change message. The venue is set to be the first net-zero carbon arena in the world.

The arena was designed by architecture firm Populous. The project involved ‘floating’ the 44-million-pound roof of the original facility and building beneath it, and Bettman said the developers have done a “phenomenal” job.

Populous principal Geoff Cheong said: “The dual scoreboards are one of the many examples of innovation in fan experience incorporated into Climate Pledge Arena.

“Our partners at Oak View Group wanted a world-class, iconic experience, and these unique displays will undoubtedly contribute to that. These are unexpected, incredibly dynamic and will allow fans to consume digital content in an entirely new way. They are the centrepieces to an entertainment experience unlike any other.”

When asked whether Climate Pledge Arena would be in line for future NHL events such as the All-Star Game or the Draft, Bettman said: “We will consider Seattle.

“Obviously because it’s a place we’re happy to be, we want to be, and the building’s great for the league events. We haven’t focused on that yet, and what the dates are, but I’m sure there will be ongoing discussions.

“I’m sure that (Kraken co-founder) David Bonderman and (team president and chief executive) Tod Leiweke will be pounding me mercilessly on announcing events and having them here. At some point, on some schedule, we’ll be happy to do it.”

Image: Populous/Climate Pledge Arena