CLIMATE PLEDGE ARENA
STADIUM DUDE’S NHL ARENA RANK: #5
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Opened 1962
- Renovated 2021
- Capacity 17,151
- Games attended: 1
- Last visited: 2021
Climate Pledge Arena is striving to be the first carbon neutral arena on earth. From being powered with 100% renewable electricity, to an ice surface that uses rainwater, to aluminum beer cups, to a living wall on the lower concourse, no expense has been spared in the name of sustainability.
They put a new arena under the the mid-Century slanted roof from the old Key Arena, making this 17,000-seat facility look much smaller from the outside. Part of that is simply the contrast to the towering Space Needle nearby. But the main reason is because almost the entire thing is underground. Unlike most arenas, you enter here on the upper concourse and work your way down.
This $1.15B hole in the ground is swish
Cool features abound. There are LED video walls through the concourse, adding beauty and aesthetics with images like seascapes and the city skyline. Sound was great. There are a pair of huge videoboards instead of the traditional center ice scoreboard. And because one side of the rink is all glass, there’s plenty of natural light.
Concessions have a decidedly local flavor and are much better than average. The much-ballyhooed Self Checkout and Grab N Go stands speed up concession buying, but lines for everything except the team store were efficient and fast. You can even pre-order and have food delivered to a convenient location. Kudos to Game Day Operations staff for getting things figured out quickly
RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
The “Kraken” may be the coolest nickname in all of sport which helps in the in-game presentation. Apart from the opening pre-game culminating in the best battle cry in sports –———”Release the Kraken!”–——— there are some nifty little touches as well. The ice crew dresses in blue waders and wool beanies to pay homage to the fishmongers at Pike Place Market. The goal horn is an actual Washington ferry horn. Seattle grunge plays frequently in play stoppages; the goal celebration song is Nirvana’s Lithium. And Kraken players who earn one of the game’s Three Stars throw a stuffed salmon into the crowd instead of a stick.
So Why Isn’t It #1?
A couple of sore points. There isn’t a lot of parking around the rink, though the team addresses that by allowing your game ticket to serve as a public transit pass. There are some obstructed views when you get in the last few rows, so beware if you plan to sit high. And it is cripplingly expensive – like $20-for-a-beer expensive. While Seattle fans didn’t seem to have an issue “Kraken open” their wallets (at least while the novelty is fresh; we’ll see in a few years), I winced at the prospect of a seeing new pricing standard for in-arena food and drink. Make sure you have plenty of room on your credit card!
An Impressive “Renovation”
Technically, this is a “renovation”; but really, it’s a brand new building. It felt like it made the next leap in stadium technology. Which makes sense given the tech-savvy nature of the Pacific Northwest.
I have stated that it’s hard to really separate the differences between hockey arenas. But there really isn’t another rink like this one; it stood out (in a good way). You’ll have a memorable visit here…and hopefully, you’ll have paid off your beer tab by the time the memory fades.