Seattle Aquarium releases the Kraken

VIDEO: Seattle Aquarium names octopus after new hockey team

SEATTLE — The Seattle aquarium named its new giant Pacific octopus after the mythical sea creature Kraken to celebrate the NHL Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season.

The aquarium also wants to use this as an opportunity to inspire marine conservation. The Puget Sound is home to the giant Pacific octopus, an animal who many believe is a descendant of the frightening sea monster Kraken.

“Unless you are a scuba diver here in the Puget Sound, you are probably never going to see these animals. So being able to come to the aquarium and get up close with these animals is really special,” said Kathryn Kegel, Seattle Aquarium senior aquarist.

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The elusive animal was collected from the Puget Sound to serve as an animal ambassador for the aquarium and the centerpiece of a program that gives the public a rare, up-close glimpse to learn more about these highly intelligent and mysterious creatures. The octopuses typically stay at the aquarium less than a few years and are released back into their home waters when they reach breeding maturity. The animals are terminal maters, which means they die shortly after mating. Since the aquarium uses the hurricane system to name their animals, it worked out perfectly that the letter "K" was next. This opportunity to name him Kraken ahead of the 2021-22 NHL season has added to the excitement of Seattle’s new team.

“We have often-times referred to it as the real-life brethren is what the giant Pacific octopus is of the Kraken, and so there is definitely a tie and we love this idea of fans being able to go to the aquarium and educate themselves about these really unique creatures that are right here in our waters,” said Heidi Dettmer, Seattle Kraken VP of marketing.

In July, Seattle’s NHL franchise unveiled its new team name as the Kraken, a mythical sea monster dating back hundreds of years, who lurks in the deep waters. Known as a horrifying creature that terrorized the sea, it is similar in appearance to the giant Pacific octopus, that researchers would argue is not a monster at all.

“These creatures that we thought were these menacing monster, are actually these fascinating creatures that are critical to the health of the ecosystems,” said environmental advocate Phillipe Cousteau.

Couteau is the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, one of the most famous undersea explorers. He recognizes this as an opportunity to encourage people to come together to protect our planet.

“The Kraken represents the journey humanity has gone through in understanding the ocean in the last 3, 4, 500 years. (Knowledge) was very limited about the ocean, now we have knowledge that is quite extensive. We understand that rather than being a scary and dark foreboding place, the ocean is full of wonder and life,” Cousteau said.

The NHL franchise wants to play a critical role in supporting environmental issues. It is leading the charge with Climate Pledge Arena, the first net-zero certified arena in the world. And it has inspired marine conservation with the unique name of its team, the Seattle Kraken.

“If we all do a little bit, it’s going to help not only the Puget Sound, but the ocean as a whole,” said Kegel.

For more information on visiting the Seattle aquarium to see Kraken or make a donation to the nonprofit to support their mission, visit their website.