SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken fans are just days away from the first home playoff game in franchise history. Crews inside Climate Pledge Arena are hard at work prepping the arena for a transformation from a concert venue to an ice rink in 12 hours or less.
Banners outside just went up Wednesday and the arena’s general manager says everyone is jumping at the chance to work this Saturday. But before that puck drops, staff have to flip the place from a concert venue to a hockey arena in 12 hours.
“Once we had our own team I instantly got into it and have been into it ever since,” said Kraken fan Mike Foiles.
The Kraken has one win down and 15 to go in the hunt to hoist one of sports’ most coveted trophies, the Stanley Cup.
“I think it’s going to be nuts,” said Foiles. “I’m excited for the guys, I’m excited for the team, I’m excited for the city that we have this now.”
With two shows this week before the puck drop, the people at Climate Pledge are working for the weekend, too.
“We get past Friday and we’re looking at two hockey games. That’s our focus,” said Climate Pledge Arena’s Assistant General Manager and Senior VP of Arena Operations Tom Conroy.
The ice inside Climate Pledge will play peek-a-boo this week. Come Friday, there will be men and women on the ice for the NCT Dream concert. On Tuesday another concert, Muse, happened at the arena. The ice only came up for air and a paint job in between, before it gets covered up again.
“The show will end, the show will move out. Production will be gone. Then there’ll be an overnight conversion. We’ll have the ice ready to go first thing in the morning,” said Conroy. “It’s anywhere between eight and 12 hours all total, but if you’re up against it you can do it quicker. On average, we convert three times a week.”
Close to 200 staff are inside to take off the ice deck, the insulated floor that protects the ice, and to clean the entire building after the crowds clear. Conroy added that many have volunteered themselves to work Saturday’s game just to be in the building. Foiles, who also bartends at Hop House down the street from the arena, said he opted to work that night, too.
“Playoffs are going to be even more crazy,” he said. When asked if he had a message for the team, he said, “Free beer after the game if they want to come down. All team members.”
The puck drop is Saturday at 7 p.m., but Conroy said there will also be tons of fanfare outside Climate Pledge before the game.
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