Sorry to the NHL, but the Seattle Kraken is a bust. When I watched the Seattle Kraken draft in July 2021, I was hopeful that this would be a fun new addition to the NHL lineup. A fresh expansion to the Pacific division with good promising players on the roster, high hopes were in the air. The Kraken’s name, inspired by the Norse legend of a giant Leviathan-like octopus sea monster originating from Scandinavian folklore, made even the aesthetics of the team seem fresh compared to the stale aesthetics of NHL teams that have been around since the 1920s. Raw fish being thrown onto ice to celebrate hat-tricks, snazzy turquoise logos and jerseys and even a brand new Seattle arena for the team, titling itself the Climate Pledge Arena to set a gold standard for future NHL expansions and a world being plagued by global warming and a pandemic.
NHL expansions are nothing new and some expansions have even gone on to be successful, like the Vegas Golden Knights who made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in their first season as an NHL franchise. But comparing the Kraken to the Golden Knights would honestly be an insult to the Las Vegas team. To put it bluntly, the Seattle Kraken Suck with a capital ‘S.’ For their first NHL season as an expansion team, they are second to last in the league. What makes this disappointing is that their team was by no means a rebuild. They didn’t draft college prospects, they drafted already seasoned and good players. So, why the sudden decline? It could be narrowed down to bad coaching, low morale, minimal fan presence, etc. There isn’t a clear answer as to why the Seattle Kraken is doing so bad in their first NHL season. It’s a stark contrast to the team that almost promised greatness with the breath of fresh air the draft provided the hockey community in July 2021. With players like Jamie Oleksiak, Philipp Grubauer, Yanni Gourde and Jordan Eberle the team seemed to be in good hands. But, with high expectations, the reality set in when halfway through the regular season, the Kraken were sorely last in the league right in front of last season’s near Stanley Cup winners, the Montreal Canadiens. With a new shock of the Kraken trading their captain Mark Giordano to the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is obvious that something isn’t right in Seattle. When a team trades their captain it is usually a sign of desperation, a result of injury or a lack of funds. My guess is all three. It seems that Seattle is at the end of their rope this season with low performance, a traded captain and simple hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy? We all know by now that the NHL is a flawed franchise. Participating in any trend to get its hands on some cold hard cash, exploiting and damagings its players just to maintain a semi-decent reputation. But never would I expect the NHL to dabble in cryptocurrency. NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have been done by other NHL teams like the Washington Capitals and the.New York Rangers. It was no surprise that the Kraken would jump on the trend but it didn’t make it any less ironic. An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, and they are mined using specialized computers, also known as nodes or mining rigs, which validate transactions for a specific cryptocurrencies and, in turn, receive a mining reward for their computational effort. These mining rigs emit about 37 kilotons of electronic waste and a single NFT or cryptocurrency transaction computed by a mining rig emits 2,145 kilowatt-hours of electricity per transaction, the same amount of power consumed by the average American household over 73.52 days. Etereum, the cryptocurrency mainly used to buy and sell NFTs, is the second-largest cryptocurrency network and it is estimated to use 112.6 Terawatt-hours of electricity per year—more power than is required by the Philippines or Belgium. Mining for Ethereum produces more than 62.9 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the same amount as Serbia and Montenegro combined and many crypto developers rely on fossil fuels such as oil to mine, further damaging the environment. So you can imagine my surprise when I heard of the Seattle Kraken, a team whe’s main arena is named the Climate Pledge Arena, participating in such an environmentally damaging act. Although, on the official Seattle Kraken NFT page, they claim that they are using a cryptocurrency called Net Zero Avalanche, and that it “has been verified by an independent study by the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute, as being 99.999 percent more energy efficient than the Ethereum Blockchain.” Despite this, there are still emissions present and the general concept of releasing NFTs and cryptocurrency isn’t exactly softening the blow.
Furthermore, it can be established that the Seattle Kraken are a bust, despite what their social media accounts and flashy merchandise would make you think. They are a team that has a long way to grow and will hopefully have much improvement ahead of them. And with a new coach and fresher players, the Seattle Kraken might be the next big franchise. But, to call the Seattle Kraken’s first season as an NHL franchise a humble beginning would be an understatement and a blatant lie.