When a new team joins the NHL, it is natural for excitement to be around the place. As one of the true sporting hotbeds of America, too, Seattle is a city without enough sporting teams. The loss of an NBA franchise has been a hard one for the city, though the growth of MLS soccer team the Seattle Sounders into a national powerhouse is a point of pride. While one day an NBA team might play from Seattle once again, it is clear that the new NHL franchise, the Seattle Kraken, is already getting a lot of local support.
The team took on their first NHL match against the Nashville Predators, and won on the night in a 4-3 thriller. In what is only the second game for the franchise, picking up a victory so early on is both rare and impressive. It was a hugely impressive evening, with Brandon Tanev scoring a winner into an empty net with just 1:21 left on the clock. Alex Wennberg and Jared McCann had also scored and also gained an assist each.
However, Seattle fans who want to see the team up-close will need to wait; the Kraken will play their first five home games away from their home stadium as they put the finishing touches on their new home arena. When it is open, though, expect a raucous atmosphere as the sports-made Seattle fans welcome another team to the city.
The Kraken is growing quickly, having joined other franchises like the teams from Columbus and Vegas to win their first match-up against the Predators. As a respected name within the NHL, the Predators are beginning to gain a reputation of becoming a team that loses to expansion franchises: the kind of name that no team wants to have.
An impressive step forward in a new future
Speaking after the game, coach Dave Hakstol was clear in his praise of the team, saying: “I think you saw a little bit of that stress in us in our play in the third period. Guys were calm and pretty focused. I know guys were really excited to be able to get the first win, especially as it sinks in. It’s the first win in franchise history, that’s a big deal for everybody.”
Tanev’s winner, though, did come from the only shot the Kraken managed in the third period of play. That put the score at 4-2, before Mikael Granlund scored with just under 40 seconds left to make it 4-3. The Kraken held on, though, and were able to stay in front to claim a win that will go down in history.
Now, the next step is to both win consistently and to ensure they can keep growing off the ice. New franchises tend to have slow starts, so it will be intriguing to see how they do as they get used to their new surroundings and slowly but surely build up a relationship with the Seattle fanbase.