Associated Press reported that the agreement, which was revealed during a press conference in Seattle on February 22, will see the tribe’s logo featured on the Kraken’s jerseys. This will make the Kraken the first team in any of the four major North American men’s professional sports leagues to feature a Native American tribe’s name on their jerseys, unrelated to a casino since advertisements became commonplace in recent years.
Kraken CEO Marks the Collaboration as the Proudest Moment in His Career
The partnership is a multiyear agreement that involves the development of a sports court on the Muckleshoot Reservation, the inclusion of more indigenous art at the Climate Pledge Arena, and the creation of hockey programs for indigenous youth in the region.
The Seattle Kraken team is on track to make the playoffs in its second year of existence. The CEO of the team, Tod Leiweke, commented on the new partnership:
One dream I have is young people throughout the Pacific Northwest who perhaps haven’t felt a part of it will now feel a part of it. A dream of mine is someday a young person learns this sport and succeeds, and maybe someday a young Muckleshoot kid wears that jersey with that patch on it.
Tod Leiweke, CEO, Seattle Kraken
Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke called the partnership both a business partnership and a community one. Leiweke, who has previously worked for various NFL, NBA, and NHL teams, further added that the agreement with the Muckleshoots was one of the proudest moments of his career.
Kraken’s Partnership with Muckleshoot Tribe Promotes Inclusivity in Hockey
The Kraken’s efforts to promote a more inclusive and representative hockey culture have taken a significant stride with the agreement. Mari Horita, the Senior Vice President of Social Impact and Government Relations at the Kraken, expressed that historically, hockey has not been the most inclusive sport.
However, the agreement provides an opportunity to change the narrative and broaden the scope of who can participate in hockey, creating a welcoming environment for nontraditional hockey communities. The Kraken’s partnership with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe is setting a positive example for other teams to follow.
The partnership with the Muckleshoot Tribe comes at a time when appreciation for Native American and First Nations influences in the sport is on the rise. However, Kraken’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in hockey is nothing new. Before the team had a name or an arena, members of Coast Salish tribes in the area were invited for lunch in 2019 to provide their input on everything from land acknowledgments before games to how best to reach out to members of the community.