On a crisp, cool October Saturday night, the descending creature from the rafters of Climate Pledge Arena was not bearing of a sasquatch, or an octopus, or another miscellaneous mythical create bearing tentacles.
This was different. This was a new member to the Seattle hockey family. This was “Buoy,” emerging in the emerald city as the long-awaited introduced mascot of the Seattle Kraken.
“Over the last two years we worked to develop Buoy’s unique identity that captured the look and feel of the Kraken brand while being kid friendly and approachable,” Lamont Buford said in a team statement, who is the team’s vice president of entertainment experience.
Introduced before puck drop on Saturday night’s pre-season game against the Vancouver Canucks, he is a six-foot-one creature in a white Kraken jersey, layered underneath a cascading flow of sea blue hair, accented tentacle accessory, golden anchor logo earring, and another fun fact:
He’s got a detachable tooth. It’s like instant hockey street cred.
Talk about an instant party trick.
Bearing the simplified visual approach with a zero on the back of his jersey, Buoy’s mission comes in complex layers: make a splash at game nights, among the fans, in the community, hockey Twitter, and across the sport’s globe.
He is fun, he is energy-fulfilled, he is controlled chaos. He is the reality of something, according to Kraken officials, local hockey fans wanted for a long time.
“We are rooted in the local community and everything we do is inspired by the wonderful place we live,” Kraken chief marketing officer Katie Townsend said.
Noted by Townsend as a “big fan of the Seattle music scene,” Buoy is the inspiration and nod to a 32-year-old Seattle area landmark, the Fremont Troll, visited by locals and tourists each year. His concept came to life with the brain trust from the Kraken organization, Chicago Mascot Company, and 3PT Productions.
It started 18 months ago, originally with a goal to introduce him to the public by last year before Christmas, a plan that became delayed due to concerns with the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron virus strain, partially responsible in shelving extensive community activities last season with the NHL handling a season full of activity restrictions.
Time passed, and the end result is a fun-loving troll coming to the surface with a face a mother, kid, goaltender, and really, any other mascot could love. He is expected to routinely take the ice at the same time the Kraken emerge during pre-game introductions. He will skate, he will perform dance routines at games, he will likely at times be seen cranking the volume on a portable stereo (according to Kraken officials, will be heard with a blend from grunge rock to tunes from Seattle native and hip hop artist Sir Mix-a-Lot).
His social media accounts across Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are active, and bookings are already underway for community appearances, aligning with a similar outreach effort as his Flyers counterpart, Gritty. Already, team officials said plans have been made to link with Gritty as a mascot ally, not a foe.
Other mascots? Well, beware. Buoy’s favorite meal, according to the team:
Shark, with a sprig of maple leaf.
Team sources told 93.3 KJR-FM that Buoy is expected to make multiple appearances across the greater Seattle region, including hospitals, Mariners games, and the upcoming National Basketball Association pre-season games scheduled at Climate Pledge Arena.
Fans will also get their first shot at meeting Buoy, up-close and personal on Sunday before the Kraken take the ice for practice, open to the public, at Kraken Community Iceplex.
Buoy can be found on Twitter and TikTok at @SEABuoy and Instagram at @NHLBuoy.