Kraken forward Brandon Tanev summed things up nicely Wednesday with a message directly to the Seattle faithful during the club’s final media availabilities for the season.
“To all the fans, thank you,” Tanev said while looking directly into the club’s online camera, “We, Seattle rather, we really appreciate all of the things you’ve done for us, you’re amazing, you guys are incredible, and we really can’t thank you enough. So we’re excited to be back next year to have that same atmosphere again.”
The 2021-’22 campaign was more disappointing for Tanev than it was for any Kraken skater. A knee injury in December, 2021 led to surgery the following month and a long recovery. The crowds at Climate Pledge Arena embraced him as a fan favorite with his return to start this past season, one that saw him play all 82 games. They relished his speed and tenacious work ethic.
“It was truly incredible,” Tanev said. “They were amazing, they have been amazing to me, but I do really think that we have the best fans in all of hockey. They were absolutely incredible. Last year we had games where we were not great in, and we did not play well, and they stayed to the bitter end of it and supported us, were on their feet cheering, and this year we saw how electric the building was, it wasn’t close to anywhere in the league. Our fans are tremendous, they support us through thick and thin and the atmosphere that they created for us only helped us and drove us in games that we needed it.”
“They’ve always supported us and been positive and come to the games, and other teams have taken notice of that as well, that Seattle’s a place that’s really embraced hockey,” Kraken D-man Jamie Oleksiak said. “I think we really fed off that energy and are very appreciative of it. This year, the loudest the building’s been? It’s hard to knock down one spot because it’s been pretty consistent, but I mean, “Eb’s” (Jordan Eberle’s) overtime goal (in Game-4 vs the Avalanche) was a special moment for the guys on the bench and the building just kind of exploded after that one, so that was a good one.”
Most of the players pointed out that the fans’ dedication grew right along with the team’s.
“It was huge last year too, right away you could feel the support,” Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy said, “obviously we didn’t give them the best show last year, so once we started to win and stuff, it just kept growing and growing, then obviously in playoffs, the fans, the community, just started seeing Kraken logos everywhere. It was awesome.”
“The hockey, the buzz and the energy in Seattle, to see that grow was pretty amazing to be a part of,” Kraken forward Jaden Schwartz said, “and to have playoff hockey in your second year and to see the excitement is something that we’ll never forget.”
“Fans here are amazing, obviously last season even though we were not doing great, they were still supporting us all the way,” Swedish center Alexander Wennberg pointed out. “And right now, to have this year, to see how this city just grows and loves hockey more and more, and for us it’s just amazing, you head out on to the ice and get the goose bumps from the fans and just to see the excitement. It’s really special and for us, to have hockey come here and it feels like people are really excited to talk about hockey, which is just amazing for us and hit helps us a lot.”
After some rest and some off-season training, the players will return in September fulltime for another go. The perfect scenario sees the local environment, the community and the team all gel as one.
“You have a lot of faith in what they’re doing and the way that they’re building this team and we obviously made it as far as we did,” veteran forward Eberle said, “they’ve done an exceptional job. I’m excited to be here, my wife and I love playing in Seattle, it’s a great place, you wake up and see the mountains, the lakes, the organization, the buildings, it’s just been first class for us. We’re excited for the future here.”