Have you ever seen a professional ice rink made of captured rainwater? How about an electric-powered Zamboni? I didn’t know either of these things were possible before attending a Seattle Kraken game at Climate Pledge Arena, but the experience introduced me to a whole new world where sustainable practices blend seamlessly with an exciting fan experience.
Climate Pledge Arena—named after The Climate Pledge, a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040—is the first arena in the world to pursue Zero Carbon Certification from the International Living Future Institute.
The rain-to-rink system and electric Zamboni are just two of the cool innovations that help Climate Pledge Arena in its efforts to be net-zero carbon. It’s also powered by 100% renewable electric energy, and employs sustainable practices to keep waste to a minimum and support local food suppliers.
Ready to take a look inside? Here are some of the coolest things I found at Climate Pledge Arena during a Kraken home game.
The experience starts before you enter the building. There are cool light displays surrounding the stadium.
I even found a marching band playing jams like “Misery Business” by Paramore outside.
Getting into the game is seamless thanks to paperless ticketing. Just make a pitstop at the security checkpoint, scan your ticket on your mobile device, and you’re in. Pro tip: Check the bag policy in advance.
There are a lot of cool things to do and experience inside. I attended a game in January and watched a group performing a Lunar New Year celebration in the halls.
I spotted a sign for a bar with a view and had to check it out. A couple flights of stairs take you to the Space Needle Lounge, which offers a spot to mingle with fans and get a full view of the arena from the top.
Watching the players warm up from this birds-eye view was really cool.
Back down on the main level, you’ll find vendors serving up a variety of tasty food, including meatless options from IMPOSSIBLE: Test Kitchen and local favorites like Ballard Pizza Company. The kitchens are all-electric, so there are no fossil fuels used to prepare the food.
Many of the vendors make all the food right in front of you; you can pick up pre-made options then seamlessly pay for your items. The arena focuses on sourcing from local food suppliers.
It’s also easy to pick up snacks and drinks. There are snack bars with Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology installed, which allows fans to secure payment before heading into the store, then pick up what they want and walk out without having to stop at a check out station.
There are a lot of cool, eco-friendly details incorporated in the food services, including compostable cutlery, dispensers made of recycled materials, and reusable cups. These details help the arena get closer to its goal of reducing waste and eliminating all single-use plastics in concessions by 2024.
You’ll find the main Kraken merch store, aptly named The Lair, on the second level, and it is equally as impressive as the food. It has everything from pucks to Kraken watches and plush toys.
Of all the amazing merch in the store, the absolute coolest thing in The Lair was the custom jersey section. Fans can order a custom jersey then watch as their orders circulate above them on the ceiling.
I also found an underground forest on the lower level, which is easily the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in an arena. The living wall takes up 1,700 square feet, and is one of the largest living walls in the Pacific Northwest, featuring 27 species of plants growing on the walls. The display is not only a beautiful photo opp, it also shares information about The Climate Pledge and serves as a reminder of the immediate need to protect the natural world around us.
A stand next to the living wall sells The Climate Pledge merchandise designed by local Seattle artist Jen Ament. In a note next to the display, Ament shared that she hopes her work encourages people to explore both the light and the dark in our world, not turning away from reality but using it to learn and grow.
My last stop before the game was at a digital display on the other side of the building that highlights the more than 400 companies that have signed The Climate Pledge so far. The display also provides information about the purpose and importance of these companies taking action to reduce emissions and waste.
The energy and excitement was apparent as I roamed the hallways before the game, but it turned up many notches after heading into the rink. The lights turned down low and the music boomed just before the game started. If you aren’t hyped heading into the arena, there is no doubt you’ll be ready for the game to begin after the super-cool intro.
It got totally wild when the announcer yelled “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!”
While watching the game, I learned that the ice is made of captured rainwater to help reduce water use. The rainwater is actually purer than the standard water, which explains the rink’s pristine surface.
I also found out the Zambonis at Climate Pledge Arena are electric powered, which is a departure from the standard gas-powered vehicles used on most rinks.
And of course, I got some photos of Buoy, the team’s mascot inspired by Seattle’s iconic Fremont Troll. For those who aren’t familiar, the Fremont Troll is a large, cement troll sculpted under the Fremont bridge that is beloved by locals and a main attraction for visitors.
The game was close and ended with the Avalanche scoring the winning point in the shootout. Not to worry though—it was just one small bump in an amazing season for the Kraken!
I filtered out of the arena along with the rest of the fans, disposing my food items in bins with convenient labels that make it easy to sustainably dispose of waste. The clearly labeled bins are helpful for customers, and also help the arena meet its goal of diverting a minimum of 95% of all waste away from landfills.
The band made a final appearance outside to serenade fans as we headed out into the Seattle night. Fans get free rides on the light rail, monorail, and public buses during Kraken home games, which makes it easier, safer, and more environmentally friendly for everyone to get home.