Kraken season-ticket holders are being told that the team will not implement a contractual price hike of between 3%-5% for next season, which they accepted as part of their package.
That means fans planning full and half-seasons for three-, five- and seven-year terms will pay the same amount in 2022-23 as they did this season. The announcement came on Wednesday as Kraken was preparing to collect payment from ticket holders for next season amid a tough campaign. The Kraken are two points away from last place in the NHL standings, and the resale value of home-game tickets has dropped significantly since opening night.
“It has been a remarkable journey with many twists and turns,” said Kraken CEO Todd Leiveke and general manager Ron Francis in a letter to ticket holders. “None of us would have imagined launching our team amidst the unique challenges of a global pandemic, including Omicron’s comprehensiveness, vaccine validation, mask mandates, snowstorms and rescheduled Games. We know this has presented challenges and therefore we are not increasing Kraken-only 44 and 22 game season ticket prices for the 2022-23 season.
A copy of the digital renewal instructions and letter will be sent by the team to the fans within the next day or two.
There would have been a 5% increase on three-year plans, the most common option purchased by ticket holders. It would have been 4% for fans of five-year plans and 3% for seven-year packages.
For fans opting for a year on half-season plans – the only category that can last less than three years – their tickets will cost the same as they renew. Price freeze does not apply to suit-holders who have concerts with their Kraken seats on.
In addition, the team calls for “new benefits” for the season’s plans, which include a bank of free tickets to use at the upcoming AHL affiliate’s new home field in Coachella Valley, California, near Palm Springs.
The letter referred to the just-concluded NHL trade deadline in which Kraken dealt with six players—including team captain Mark Giordano—to submit draft picks. Francis said this week he would use picks this summer in potential deals to accelerate the team’s progress.
“It’s hard to say goodbye to the players who helped us launch our team, but we have prepared ourselves to go through a very busy season,” the letter said. “We have 25 draft picks in the next two rounds, including nine in the first two rounds. We have an excellent scouting group working to identify young talent. Their hard work has earned us the likes of Matty Beniers, Riker Evans and Ryan Winterton. We have started paying dividends through our first entry draft category, which continues to impress.”
2 overall draft pick Beniers is expected to join the team next month, when his sophomore season at the University of Michigan comes to an end. The Wolverines are seeded No. 1 in the NCAA men’s tournament, which begins this week.
Taken in the second round last summer, right-handed defenseman Evans has had an exceptional junior season with the WHL’s Regina Pats. He is expected to begin his professional career in the AHL next fall.
Third-round pick Winterton, a center with the junior-level Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton, missed nearly a season and a half due to the COVID-19 shutdown and shoulder injury, but has been on the rise since his January return. As of Wednesday, Winterton, who will return to junior hockey next season, had 15 goals and 19 assists in his first 26 appearances.
Kraken’s letter to fans also stated: “In addition to thoroughly drafting and developing our players, we manage both our NHL and AHL line-ups through business, free agency and discounts.” We are working daily to improve and add organizational depth in the U.S. Pay range for long-term success. We have salary cap flexibility, and we own it to invest in improving our team now and for the future Committed.”
The letter thanked fans for their support and “showing passion and commitment”.
“Our goal is to be a perennial playoff team competing annually to win the Stanley Cup,” the letter said. “We are shaping the team around character players who are hardworking and play a tireless team game. Our players proudly wear the ‘S’ and are laying the foundation for what is to come.”