Let's do that hockey, Seattle.
Sports Radio 950 KJR and iHeartMedia Seattle announced on Wednesday a partnership with the Seattle Kraken NHL franchise and Climate Pledge Arena to serve as the radio home of the city's newest major professional sports franchise.
KJR will serve as the flagship radio station for Kraken broadcasts with play-by-play announcer Everett Fitzhugh on the call. Select games will also appear on 96.5 JACK-FM as well. KJR will be a regular fixture at both Climate Pledge Arena and the team's new training headquarters in Northgate for broadcasts.
"I couldn't be prouder to join forces with Seattle Kraken,” Mark Glynn, Market President for iHeartMedia Seattle, said in a statement. “This alliance not only encompasses Sports Radio 950 KJR as the flagship radio station but also strategically aligns our brands with Climate Pledge Arena in a groundbreaking agreement. Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke and Kraken COO Victor de Bonis and their team have been incredible to work with in creating this partnership."
The partnership expands beyond hockey as well. iHeartMedia Seattle is also partnering as a key promotional partner for music and entertainment at Climate Pledge Arena. Climate Pledge Arena will be the home of more than 80 concerts and live events each year and the iHeartMedia Seattle portfolio of music stations (KUBE 93.3, HITS 106.1, 95.7 The Jet, 102.5 KZOK, 96.5 JACK) will be a part of the promotional efforts for the group.
“We are thrilled to partner with iHeartMedia in Seattle,” Rosie Selle, Vice President of Marketing for Climate Pledge Arena, said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing their vast promotional power support the world-class music and events we intend to attract to Climate Pledge Arena.”
The Kraken are set to fill a massive void in the Seattle sports landscape. The city has been without a major men's professional sport in the winter months since the Supersonics left for Oklahoma City after the 2008 NBA Draft.
"It's been a long time coming but you guys have just been such incredible supporters since day one, backing us when it was but a dream and we couldn't be happier to be in this partnership," Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke said in announcing the deal on 950 KJR on Wednesday afternoon.
"We're just thrilled. Today is a great day for us."
Added Rich Moore, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Seattle: "We are extremely excited to bring Seattle’s newest professional franchise to the airwaves. It will be beyond fun helping build up this great fan base from the start, offering additional content and unique access on multiple platforms. Sports Radio 950 KJR and its entire team are proud to be the home of the Kraken!”
The Kraken return top-tier professional hockey to the market for the first time in nearly a century. The Seattle Metropolitans won the 1917 Stanley Cup as part of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. However, the team disbanded after the 1924 season.
The Kraken will debut in the NHL for the 2021-22 season. In the months ahead, the team will hire a head coach, built a team through both an expansion draft and the traditional NHL draft, complete construction of both Climate Pledge Arena and their training center in Northgate, and take the ice for the first time.
"I'm here to tell you guys that whatever you think you got into, it's going to be better," Leiweke said. "The arena is just shaping up to be spectacular. These fans are going to be the best in the NHL. ... It is an exciting, exciting day for us and again I'm just super grateful that you guys, two years ago, when it was still a dream, you got behind us and you helped to make it a reality."
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 23: A general view of the Space Needle as the Seattle Kraken team flag is hung from above on July 23, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The NHL revealed the franchise's new team name today. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)