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Paul Silvi: Seattle Kraken fall short in memorable home opener

Sometimes in our business, we get the privilege to attend some pretty memorable sporting events. Saturday night’s Kraken home opener was one of those events.
Credit: AP
Players from the NHL expansion team Seattle Kraken stand during player introductions before a hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE — Sometimes in our business, we get the privilege to attend some pretty memorable sporting events. Saturday night’s Kraken home opener at the brand new Climate Pledge Arena was one of those events.

The place was packed to the rafters with fans and even had a few celebrities mixed in, including Heart’s Ann Wilson who belted out a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner as only she can. It was the ovation she got at the end that shook me. Or maybe more accurately, shook my seat. 

As I sat perched above the ice in the suspended press area, the entire row began to sway. We all noticed the movement right away, much like the press box at the old Husky Stadium. A press box that seemed to take on a life of its own, vibrating and shaking after every Dawgs touchdown.

Call this experience a bit of a throwback to yesteryear for us older guys, but it was almost fitting considering we were sitting under an arena roof that’s been around since the early 1960s.

When Vince Dunn scored the Kraken’s first-ever goal in the new arena with three seconds left in the first period, press row was in full motion. Throw in the waves crashing on the two giant scoreboards hovering above the ice, and I could see where it might have been a treacherous few moments for those affected by motion sickness. 

The arena itself is as advertised and more. From the design and lighting to all the amenities - it’s something that can’t be explained in black and white. Like the sport of hockey itself, Climate Pledge Arena has to be experienced. Fans were into it from the first puck drop. They didn’t need extra motivation from stars in the arena like Macklemore or Seahawks stars Bobby Wagner and DK Metcalf. Or Russell Wilson and Ciara rallying the crowd from their seats. Or even Gary Payton Shawn Kemp and Sue Bird adding their own excitement to the atmosphere. No, fans didn’t need all the extras, but they got’em and they loved’em.

Climate Pledge Arena screams Seattle. It’s a state-of-the-art arena that has a lot to offer. They’re planning on 75 concerts a year as well as other big events, but for me, it will always be about hockey. I grew up watching the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Now after 28 years in Seattle, I get to see NHL hockey up close and personal again. 

I may not be around to see the Kraken raise the Stanley Cup, but I’ll definitely be around for the quest.