Kraken to Play Preseason Games in WHL Arenas

The Seattle Kraken will play 2021 home preseason games in Washington state, but they won’t host fans at Climate Pledge Arena just yet. Named the 3-Rink Rush, the Kraken’s exhibition series will take place between Sunday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 2 across three Western Hockey League (WHL) arenas.

The Kraken will first host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, Sept. 26 at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, home of the Spokane Chiefs. Five days later, they will head to the Seattle suburb of Everett to take on the Edmonton Oilers at Angel of the Winds Arena, where the Everett Silvertips play. The following day, they will host the Calgary Flames at Accesso ShoWare Center, home of the Seattle Thunderbirds in the suburb of Kent. They will also play road games at their opponent’s venues.

“It will be an honor to play (preseason games) in hockey communities across the state. I know our players will be excited,” said Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke in a club press release.

The Kraken expect to open Climate Pledge Arena in mid-October for the franchise’s first regular-season home game. Leiweke said COVID-19-related challenges have hindered progress on the venue, forcing the Kraken to explore preseason alternatives. Neither the team nor their partnering venues have announced a maximum attendance capacity. Each of the three WHL clubs will manage ticket sales.

Spokane, Sept. 26 vs. Vancouver Canucks

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena will host the first Kraken preseason tilt, in which they’ll battle their closest geographic rival, the Canucks. The game will take place just four days after a preseason match between in-state WHL rivals, the Chiefs and the Tri-City Americans. Spokane Arena currently supports up to 10,300 fans.

A lesser-known but passionate hockey community, Spokane is no stranger to high-profile hockey events. According to the Kraken’s press release, Spokane Arena’s first event was a sold-out 1995 preseason game between the Canucks and the San Jose Sharks where 11,400 fans gathered, in part, to cheer on former Chiefs Ray Whitney and Pat Falloon. The two 1991 first-round selections returned to the city where they won the Memorial Cup four years before. 

Adam Beckman of the Spokane Chiefs Seattle Kraken WHL
Spokane Arena, home of the Spokane Chiefs, will host the Seattle Kraken on Sept. 26, 2021 (Larry Brunt/Spokane Chiefs)

The Chiefs and the city of Spokane also hosted the 2011 Rockstar Outdoor Hockey Classic, the WHL’s first-ever outdoor game, as 7,075 fans flocked to Avista Stadium, home of the Spokane Indians baseball club, to watch the Chiefs dominate the Kootenay Ice 11-2.

Located about four hours from Seattle by car, Washington’s second-largest city has produced several NHL players, including Tyler Johnson, Kailer Yamamoto, and Derek Ryan.

Everett, Oct. 1 vs. Edmonton Oilers

Following their contest in Spokane, the Kraken will venture just 28 miles north from their home base to Angel of the Winds Arena, home of the Everett Silvertips. There they will face off against Connor McDavid and the Oilers. The venue supports hockey crowds of up to 8,200.

“It’s an amazing testimony to the growth of hockey in the Pacific Northwest that the Seattle Kraken have quickly unified the passion of our fan base and those of fellow WHL franchises for this incredible opportunity,” Zoran Rajcic, Silvertips chief operating officer, said in the same release.

Angel of the Winds Arena has also hosted NHL preseason action. In 2009 Silvertips alumnus Peter Mueller and his then-Phoenix Coyotes took on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Petere Mueller Seattle Kraken WHL Everett Silvertips
Coyotes forward Peter Mueller leads all Everett Silvertips alumni in career NHL points with 160 (THW Archives).

Like other WHL clubs, the Silvertips have produced a bevy of NHL talent. Radko Gudas, Carter Hart, Jujhar Khaira, and Ryan Murray are among the Everett alumni still in the NHL. Additionally, Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie grew up in Everett and played for ten years in the Pacific Northwest before moving to Warroad, Minn.

Kent, Oct. 2 vs. Calgary Flames

The Kraken conclude the 3-Rink Rush series the following day in the south Seattle suburb of Kent, home of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Playing host to the Thunderbirds since 2009, the ShoWare Accesso Center will welcome as many as 6,100 fans to witness the Kraken battle the Flames.

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“Our organizations are committed to developing local hockey players and helping them succeed at the highest levels of the game … to host this game in our home arena is an honor,” said Thunderbirds president Colin Campbell in the release.

Mathew Barzal Seattle Thunderbirds Seattle Kraken WHL
Mathew Barzal led the 2016-17 Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL’s Ed Chynoweth Cup. (Photo: Christopher Mast)

The Thunderbirds last brought a WHL championship to the greater Seattle area in 2017, led by 2018 Calder Trophy recipient Mathew Barzal. Shea Theodore, Ethan Bear, Brenden Dillon, and Patrick Marleau — the NHL’s all-time leader in games played — are among Thunderbirds alumni still playing professional hockey.

Additional Series Info

Each WHL club will sell tickets to the public on Friday, July 16 at 12 pm Pacific, with a July 13 pre-sale extended to their ticket plan holders. Additionally, the Chiefs have partnered with the rival Tri-City Americans — located roughly 140 miles from Spokane — to offer American ticket plan holders the same offer. Kraken season ticket holders, who had preseason games included in their plans, will receive an account credit and may purchase tickets through the July 16 public sale.

The Kraken have partnered with all three WHL host clubs to donate a portion of ticket revenue to One Roof Foundation, the Kraken’s nonprofit organization dedicated to, among other pillars, creating hockey opportunities for underprivileged youth.

The Kraken have yet to reveal broadcast details but have stated on their website that fans will be able to tune in. The team will round out its preseason with road games against the same teams in their usual home arenas — Edmonton on Sept. 28, Calgary on Sept. 29, and Vancouver on Oct. 5.

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