‘It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience’: Seattle Kraken fans excited to attend first game in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. — History is being made in Spokane. The Seattle Kraken played its first game with fans at the Spokane Arena. The team hit the ice for the first time Sunday evening, playing its debut preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, getting to see them play for the first time in Spokane. That is awesome,” said Brandon Porria, a Seattle Kraken fan.

It’s especially exciting for fans living in the Inland Northwest since the Kraken chose the Spokane Arena for its first game.

“It’s awesome. It’s amazing. I teared up. I teared up when I heard they were going to do this this year. Like, I’m tearing up now to see the Vancouver Canucks. The NHL means a lot to us, hockey in general means a lot to us,” said Bryce Neusse, standing alongside his friend Blake Anderson and wife Janel Neusse.

The game was sold out with more than 10,000 people in attendance to watch.

The Spokane Public Facilities District, which operates the Spokane Arena, says about 2,400 people are coming from out of the area for the game.

Part of the Apitz family drove up from Moscow to be with their Spokane family to watch the first Kraken game.

It was a nerve-racking process to get tickets for them.

“We were waiting on the clock, watching our phones, waiting to order them as soon as possible,” said Matt Apitz.

In their family, some wore a Vancouver Canucks jersey, others donned the Kraken logo.

“I’d like to cheer for Seattle as the local team, but they’re so new,” Apitz said. “I kind of favor the Canucks over the Seattle team.”

Fans attending the game either had to be fully vaccinated or show proof of an exemption, in addition to a negative COVID test. This is the policy for the Seattle Kraken.

The Public Facilities District says it follows state mandates, and then will allow the promoters or groups who want to run an event put in any additional policies.

“They have to do what they have to do. I understand they want the safety of the fans, first priorities pretty much,” Porria said.

Neusse said he’s had other vaccines while being in the military, so this vaccination policy didn’t bother him either.

“I would’ve grown a third arm as a side effect to be able to watch hockey in person again,” he said.

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