Creating the Kraken

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One Big Thing: Creating the Kraken

What’s Happening: The Seattle Kraken aren’t just attempting to break into the NHL — the league’s newest team is also looking to break down barriers. But, as The Athletic points out, the team has a lot to do before its debut in 2021.

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Tell Me More: Seattle has made diversity and inclusion a priority with some of its early moves, hiring Alexandra Mandrycky (director of hockey administration) and Everett Fitzhugh, who is the first Black team broadcaster in NHL history. But, there’s more work to do, starting with the all important task of finding a head coach.

Coaching Candidates: Kraken general manager Ron Francis recently said in an interview with The Athletic that he is being patient when it comes to finding a head coach because he isn’t sure who will be available in the expansion draft — or even when it will take place for that matter. Here are a couple Kraken coaching options via NBC Sports Adam Gretz.

1. Gerard Gallant. “Probably the name that will top every potential Seattle list. Gallant is an outstanding coach and obviously has some pretty significant experience working with a new franchise and helping to build it from the ground up.”

2. Rikard Gronborg. “It has been two decades since the NHL has had a European head coach, and it is time to change that. Gronborg, currently the head coach of Swiss team ZSC Lions as well as the Swedish National Team, has been a winner everywhere he has coached, is highly decorated and respected, and has his sights set on the NHL.”

3. John Stevens. “Stevens would probably be a very “safe” hire, but not necessarily a bad one. He has an AHL championship on his coaching resume, has been a top assistant on multiple Stanley Cup Final teams (including this past season with the Dallas Stars), and was mostly successful during his time as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings.”

4. Mike Babcock. “You have to assume he is going to be discussed,” writes Gretz, who thinks Seattle should avoid the former Stanley Cup champion who has been under fire after multiple reports alleging player abuse. “This is not the direction I would go. His recent track record with established, talented teams is not good at all (only one playoff series win in nine seasons) so I have a hard time seeing him molding a new franchise into something anytime soon.”

5. Dan Bylsma. “Or as I like to call him, a slightly better version of Mike Babcock who doesn’t have the luxury of Hockey Canada boosting his reputation. He’s a better coach than he gets credit for being.”

One More Thing: We mentioned the Kraken is attempting to break down barriers, and this philosophy is extending to its arena. A Nov. 12 press release announced that the arena had “submitted its registration to the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) as it works to become the first arena in the world to be net Zero Carbon certified.”

According to the release, “The Climate Pledge, announced in 2019 by Amazon and Global Optimism, calls on signatories to be net- zero carbon across their businesses by 2040 — a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement. In securing the naming rights of the historic arena in June 2020, Amazon named it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the importance of acting to fighting climate change.”

“The 18,100-seat multi-purpose venue located at Seattle Center is expected to host 200 events each year, including the NHL's 32nd and newest expansion team Seattle Kraken, four-time WNBA world champion Seattle Storm, live music and entertainment from the world's biggest stars, and City of Seattle community events. It is currently undergoing a transformation to construct a brand-new arena under the landmark Paul Thiry-designed roof.”

Insider Updates & Analysis

  • Breaking: Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid are skating together in Arizona to prepare for next season, Elliotte Friedman reports.


A Question for the Peanut Gallery

Who will Seattle hire to be its first head coach?

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