Catch the Kraken (Again) at the Community BBQ
Seattle Kraken’s historic sophomore-year season—capped by eliminating the defending NHL champions Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs—ended in May with a series defeat to the Dallas Stars in the second round.
You would think that having loosened its skates and melted its home ice, the organization itself would spend the offseason on a well-deserved hiatus.
But no: Seattle’s beloved hockey franchise is still Kraken up.
For the second time in as many years, you can catch the Kraken at United Way of King County’s Annual Community BBQ, slated for August 12 at Renton Memorial Stadium. This year, the team is bringing a custom inflatable hockey rink—the same activation the team brought to the Juneteenth Celebration at Judkins Park. The inflatable rink uses pop-up goals, wiffle balls, and gym-safe floorball sticks.
In fact, since their season ended, the Kraken have been all over the place, capitalizing on their growing popularity and fan base that just four years ago had scarcely a trace of NHL vibes. In addition to its Northgate-based Community Iceplex—which offers everything from public skating to pizza parties to school field trips—the team is making inroads in neighborhoods with its One Roof Foundation.
As the philanthropic arm of both the Kraken and its home ice Climate Pledge Arena, the One Roof Foundation says on its website that it aims to “advance equity and sustainability by increasing opportunities to thrive for our most vulnerable young people and communities.”
Among the activities the Kraken have been involved in through the One Roof Foundation:
- This year the team partnered with the Refugee Women’s Alliance to send 50 children ages 3-5 to the Iceplex to learn to skate for free. The program was held once a week for 32 weeks.
- During the Kraken’s playoff run, the team mascot Buoy as well as Kraken player Joonas Donskoi visited Northgate Elementary and delivered 20 pairs of tickets to educators. The team also donated $10,000 to the school from its Kraken Unity Fund, which honors individuals in the Pacific Northwest doing work to transform lives and unite communities.
- This month, Kraken staff joined the staff of the Mariners, Seahawks, and other local pro sports teams at Skyway Park for the King County Play Equity Coalition’s Sports Sampling Camp. The weeklong camp allows dozens of area youths to gain sports instruction from athletes and team staff. Kraken staff taught the youths ball hockey on a makeshift rink (no ice).
“We have done our fair share of community events and activations in the greater Seattle area,” said Thadius Daniel, Kraken community programs coordinator. “We definitely made our presence known in the playoffs, as with any sports team, when your team does well, a lot of people get word of that and they want to support the team. It’s definitely has grown since last year. We’ve seen the transition from the inaugural team that didn’t do so well to the team that was scrappy and really became a second-year team that not a lot of people expected to win as many games as it did in the regular season, let alone the playoffs.”
The Kraken’s off-the-ice efforts during this year’s offseason are a carryover from their inaugural season.
Kraken social media coordinator Emilio Valderas said that the team’s fundraising efforts during the season have translated into a 40-percent increase in field trips hosted at the Iceplex.
We want to be there to hype up the crowd a little bit and bring a Seattle Kraken presence to the BBQ.Thadius Daniel, Kraken community programs coordinator
“We’ve provided transportation for kids to take a tour to Climate Pledge Arena, which is focused on environmental justice and sustainability,” Valderas said. He added that when the NBA Los Angeles Clippers played Israeli pro basketball team Maccabi Ra’anana in a preseason game last year at Climate Pledge Area, the Kraken donated about 10,000 tickets for kids and groups to attend “who might not otherwise be able to afford a ticket or a non-Kraken game.”
Along with the inflatable hockey rink, the Kraken will bring Buoy to the BBQ. Daniel added, “We’ll be handing out SWAG to the public. We want to be there to hype up the crowd a little bit and bring a Seattle Kraken presence to the BBQ.”