Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke

Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke (center) speaks at a press conference Tuesday with Bristol Bay Native Corporation President and CEO Jason Metrokin (back left) and numerous young fans in Anchorage. 

Starting this fall, the National Hockey League will have 32 teams when the Seattle Kraken finally begin play. On Tuesday, the Kraken announced their intent to make Alaska a major part of their fan base.

Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke was in Anchorage on Tuesday to announce that the team would be partnering with the Bristol Bay Native Corporation in Alaska. According to the official press release, “The partnership will provide unique opportunities for BBNC and its shareholders and descendants, its companies, and partners, as well as hockey enthusiasts around the region and throughout Alaska.”

“The Seattle Kraken’s key values of community, sustainability and inclusion align nicely with BBNC’s corporate values, and this partnership will provide opportunities to connect Bristol Bay and Alaska youth to positive role models,” said Jason Metrokin, Bristol Bay Native Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer. “This partnership will also allow us to share and promote all the great things about Bristol Bay to NHL fans, concert goers and more in the Pacific Northwest.”

The partnership will allow BBNC to anchor one of just 13 prime marketplace locations within Climate Pledge Arena when play begins there this fall. As for the remainder of the state, including the interior, the agreement will result in members of the Kraken team and coaching staff holding annual camps in Alaska for kids. The camps will have a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, providing access to young people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity or exposure to the game.”

“We are so fortunate that the great state of Alaska is part of our territory,” said Leiweke. “Having spent time in Alaska the passion for hockey is clear. The Kraken are fortunate to welcome BBNC to our family as we will together grow the game, impact community while also introducing this wonderful company and region to the Pacific Northwest and our unique world.”

Both Leiweke and Metrokin told the News-Miner that they hope the partnership will allow the Kraken to continue to build a fan base throughout the state, including the Fairbanks area.

The Kraken will hold their expansion draft on July 21 with the NHL draft taking place on July 23 and 24. The Kraken hold the second overall pick in the NHL draft and are set to begin play in October.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.