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Creating Buoy, the new Seattle Kraken mascot

KOMO-TV Seattle 10/4/2022 Molly Shen
© Provided by KOMO-TV Seattle

When Buoy dropped from the rafters of Climate Pledge Arena Saturday night, it was the culmination of 18 months of work.  The team was set to unveil Buoy in December of last year, but then, COVID-19 surged.

"We decided, let's wait," said Katie Townsend, Chief Marketing Officer for the Seattle Kraken. "We can't have the mascot out there doing everything that we want them to do right now, so let's use that time, make sure we're happy with it and then go for the start of our second season."

They hunkered down in a conference room called the Game Presentation Control Room.  With paper covering the windows and doors, they kept out the eyes of even their own staff.  They eliminated an actual Kraken, saying that creature remains a mysterious beast.  They wanted someone who could run, skate, and dance.

"You'll see a character that is very friendly and high fives," said Lamont Buford, the Kraken VP of Entertainment Experience and Production.  "Loves Seattle music from grunge to Sir Mix-A-Lot to so many others.  It's a character that will be a lot of fun."

They looked to Seattle icons for inspiration and kept coming back to the Fremont Troll.

But after the big reveal, not all fans were on board.

Top Instagram comments include, "Yeah absolutely not." 

"No"

"Please change this"

"Please just redo the mascot"

And, "worst mascot ever."

But the team was ready for fans to troll their sea troll.

"You look at probably the most successful mascot launch to date in the NHL is Gritty in Philadelphia. Very polarizing response when Gritty launched. So we're prepared," said Townsend. "Even if you don't love Buoy on day one, we hope you will love Buoy over the coming months."

Among the very first to meet Buoy: a focus group of kids.

They loved him.

"The target age that just fell in love with Buoy was eight. There were two eight-year-olds (in the focus group), and they were just obsessed with Buoy," Townsend said.

And the Kraken hopes you'll feel the same, eventually.

 "We feel like we've done a good job, and now it's for people to grow to love Buoy," Townsend said.

Like other mascots, Buoy doesn't talk.  But he does know some American Sign Language.

And he's a good skater, after getting in practice sessions in the middle of the night to keep the secrecy.

You might see him on the ice at the Kraken Community Iceplex, but he could also show up taking a walk in Discovery Park, riding a ferry, or cruising around Seattle in his electric vehicle.

"We love him," Buford said. "We know he's going to be a great fan ambassador for us."

RELATED | Seattle Kraken unveils 'Buoy,' a six-foot tall sea troll as new mascot

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