With completion of Climate Pledge Arena coming down to the wire for the October start of the 2021-2022 NHL season, the Seattle Kraken will play three “home” preseason games at WHL arenas in the Pacific Northwest.
The preseason schedule: Sept. 26 at Spokane Veterans Memorial Coliseum (home of the Spokane Chiefs) against the Vancouver Canucks; Oct. 1 at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett (home of the Everett Silvertips) with the Edmonton Oilers in town; and Oct. 2 in Kent at the accesso ShoWare Center (home of the Seattle Thunderbirds) with the Calgary Flames in town.
The Kraken front office has not been hiding the fact that construction on the $1 billion renovation project is running a little late; you can expect the team to begin with several games on the road before Opening Night. “The arena is on track to open mid-October for our inaugural regular season game,” said Tod Leiweke, Kraken CEO, in a press statement, “but we have made the decision to play our three inaugural preseason games at three outstanding local arenas … We couldn’t be more excited for these games and then to open Climate Pledge Arena.”
A slip in the Climate Pledge Arena construction schedule is not the only arena issue facing the Kraken and owner Oak View Group. A new Palm Springs arena for an expansion AHL team was delayed after a site change. As a result, the Kraken will not field an AHL team in 2021-2022 and instead signed an affiliate deal with the Charlotte Checkers, sharing the team with the Florida Panthers.
“The AHL plays such a key role in the development of NHL players that this was a very important decision for the long-term success of our organization,” said Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis via press release. “We are obviously familiar with Michael Kahn and the Charlotte Checkers as well as the area and this agreement helps ensure we can loan all of our prospects to one place rather than multiple locations. We would like to thank both Charlotte and the Florida Panthers for their cooperation to make this happen.”
Construction photo courtesy Climate Pledge Arena.
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