Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Today’s Program: RELEASE THE KRAKEN! an introduction to the newest Seattle sports franchise and the National Hockey League
Meeting Called to order: by President Sean Padget @ 12:10 pm
Thought for the Day: Holly Mason
Guests of Rotarians:
Beth Doglio was a guest of Paul Knox. 
Colleen Gillespie had two guests; Peter Samuelson, a colleague from work, and her husband, Patrick Gillespie
March 8th, at noon (the same time as this meeting) the Bainbridge Island Rotary Club along with Rotary District 5020 sponsored a talk with Rotary Internationals incoming president, Jennifer Jones - the first woman president in Rotary history. In celebration of International Women's Day, she shared thoughts on diversity, equity and inclusion. A number of members of our Social Justice Task Force attended.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners is declaring racism a crisis in Thurston County based on metrics such as life expectancy and infant mortality. Section 7 of resolution talks to organizations such as Rotary, asking us “to rise to challenge by helping eliminate systemic racism in our community.”
Also on Tuesday, Johrita Solari will be running a Rotary International COVID Task Force Zoom meeting. President Sean offered to send out details to anyone interested.
Looking ahead to future programs, next week on March 15th Lt Governor Denny Heck will be talking about his new role and the transition to it.  On March 22nd, as part of our social justice conversation, Merritt Long will be talking about his book “My View from the Back of the Bus.”  On March 29th Kim Wyman will give an elections update; her take on all that occurred and where things are at today.
Plans are going full speed ahead for the Centennial celebrations, with the Club looking to get 100% participation in the fundraising to support the efforts. Pledge forms are available on our web page (under the Donate Now button you will find a donor form to download, complete and send in)
Program: RELEASE THE KRAKEN! an introduction to the newest Seattle sports franchise and the National Hockey League
Colleen Gillespie introduced Eric Pettigrew who works as the Vice President of Government Relations and Outreach for the Seattle Kraken Hockey Team. Colleen described how Eric was raised by a single-mother in South Central Los Angeles. After studying sociology and counseling psychology at Oregon State University on a football scholarship, he moved to Seattle to study social work at the University of Washington where he received his masters degree in 1987. Eric has a diverse background of work experience in all levels of government, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector. In 2002 Eric was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives and served in that capacity for 18 years. In 2010, Eric was chosen by his peers to serve as House Democratic Caucus Chair. The caucus chair is the third-ranking leadership position within the HDC, which, at the time, made Eric the highest-ranking African American in the Legislature.
Eric recounted how he loved hockey as a kid, but never had the opportunity to play himself. He reflected on the Puget Sound region’s long history of hockey, noting that in 1917 the Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup.
The Seattle Kraken will play in the Climate Pledge Arena; the recently renamed Key Arena that has undergone over $1bn of renovation and is due to open in late Summer 2021.  Although the roof has been retained, the underlying space has been radically improved. Digging down another 15 feet and expanding sideways, the new arena covers over 800,000 square feet - double the prior capacity. It has been designed as the most sustainable arena in the world with a zero-carbon footprint, and has a capacity for 17,100 NHL or 18,100 basketball fans, and a 17,200-concert capacity.
In addition to the Kracken, Climate Pledge Arena will be home to the World Champion Seattle Storm. With the remodel now complete, the Arena can compete with the Staples Center and other top locations as a music venue, and is working with Live Nation to bring major music acts to Seattle.
Underlying the passion for hockey in the region, the team saw 10,000 commitments to tickets in the first 12 minutes of making them available, and 25,000 tickets sold in 1 hour. Capped at 32,000 tickets, there is now a waitlist of over 60,000.
The launch of the Seattle Kraken is one of most successful brand launches in sports history. Eric described the genesis of the name and the anatomy of the logo - driven by the fans - that links the attributes of the mythical sea creature to the team, and captures the spirit of region.
During the closing Q&A session, Eric mentioned that he would be excited to see an ice hockey arena in Olympia. Kyle Cronk took the initiative and said that the YMCA would be delighted to work with him to make that happen. Contact details have been exchanged, and the meeting wrapped up with an eager sense of anticipation for hockey in the Puget Sound region.
Meeting adjourned at 12:57 pm