The redeveloped sports arena at Seattle Center has the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s blessing.
Along with an exchange of smiles and handshakes.
The tribe’s Muckleshoot Casino has joined the Oak View Group and NHL Seattle as an official partner in the pro hockey effort.
The Muckleshoots were invited to bless the land on which the New Arena (formerly KeyArena) at Seattle Center is taking shape as a symbol of respect for the deep tribal heritage of the region. Filled with prayer, dance and song, the ceremony Wednesday also served as a moving testament to the resilience of hope and new beginnings.
“We are grateful to the Muckleshoot Tribe for their blessing of these arena grounds, which we acknowledge are on indigenous land and the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people,” said Mari Horita, vice president of Community Engagement and Philanthropy for NHL Seattle. “The arena project is about honoring the past and embracing the future, and our partnership with the tribe and the Muckleshoot Casino does exactly that. We are excited to partner to bring the game of hockey to more Native American youth in our region.”
“It is a good day to come here with a good heart to represent not only my people but all indigenous people of our region,” said Donny Stevenson, vice chairman of the Muckleshoot Tribal Council. “To be able to partner and work with NHL Seattle on the ultimate goal to bring an NHL franchise to Seattle is truly exciting.”
As a partner and sponsor, Muckleshoot Casino will have entitlement to the power play as well as a significant brand presence at the New Arena at Seattle Center and Northgate Ice Centre.
NHL Seattle will also partner with the Muckleshoots to introduce hockey, a sport with roots in native culture to Native American youth in the Puget Sound region.
“This day is truly empowering,” said Conrad Granito, general manager of the Muckleshoot Casino. “Muckleshoot gaming is the economic engine that has created economic independence and self-sufficiency for the tribe over the last 25 years. It provides resources needed to improve the tribal community’s quality of life, preserve its culture and lays the groundwork for a bright future.”
The redeveloped arena will feature a new interior and entrance atrium while retaining the existing roof and three exterior walls. It will seat 18,600 for basketball, 17,400 for hockey.
Seattle’s NHL expansion team is scheduled to begin play at the new arena for the 2021-22 season.
The Muckleshoot Casino is undergoing a renovation of its own. Expansion is underway. which will culminate with the debut of the casino’s 18-story, 400-room resort in 2021.