EDMONTON, AB — There was a certain amount of anticipation at Rogers Place on Sept. 28.
After all, it was the first time the Edmonton Oilers would welcome a full-capacity crowd in 18 months as they hosted the Seattle Kraken.
It was also first time one of the Kraken's original employees would face the team for which he helped lay the groundwork.
"Kudos, I know how much work has gone into that," said Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett following a post-morning skate at Rogers Place.
Tippett was an advisor for the Kraken in the early stages of the franchise, helping with layout and planning for what is now Climate Pledge Arena and the Kraken Community IcePlex. Tippett also helped in the development of the brand.
"I think it's excellent," he said. "I gotta say, I had a little hesitation about the Kraken at first because it was more of a cartoon character, but the way they've depicted it and the uniforms, it's outstanding."
Tippett left the franchise in May of 2019 to coach the Oilers, which have had back-to-back Hart Trophy winners in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
He smiled Tuesday when reflecting on those initial stages of the Kraken franchise.
"I was there just after the ticket drives went, and the enthusiasm, the little events, the enthusiasm was incredible," he said. "Seattle is a great sports town, the Kraken have to find their little niche there."
Tippett, by all accounts, left Seattle under good circumstances. In fact, he told KING 5 that he remains good friends with Kraken GM Ron Francis.
"I was with Ronny a few weeks ago at a golf tournament in Connecticut. He's happy with his group - hard working, some character people, some veteran defenseman, solid team, hard team to play against."
Tippett looks forward to bringing his squad to Everett on Oct. 1, which will likely feature two native Washingtonians in Derek Ryan and Kailer Yamamoto. They were both born and raised in Spokane.
Yamamoto said he watched parts of the Kraken's game in the Spokane Arena on Sunday.
"I saw Morgan Geekie score two goals, who played in that barn a couple of times, pretty pumped for that guy."
He also smiled when talking about playing in his native state later this week.
"Talking to my parents, I think I have a butt load of friends and family there," he laughed. "It's gonna be a fun game."