It will take several more days for the Kraken to get a handle on damage caused by a freak weekend construction accident at their planned Northgate Mall practice facility.
But for now, the team is expressing confidence the player training facilities will open by mid-July as scheduled and that the remainder of the building’s public features will be completed in time for September training camp. On Saturday night, a portion of an adjacent building being demolished as part of a completely separate project accidentally toppled into the west wall of the future NHL team’s planned $80 million facility.
“We are incredibly thankful that no one was injured,’’ a statement put out by the team Monday said. “The Kraken are working to assess the damage. We are confident it will not impact our opening timeline for hockey operations.”
The western part of the facility is where a planned public restaurant and bar area is to be built and not where the team’s locker room, offices and on-ice facilities are located. None of the crew members partaking in the Kraken project were on-site when the accident occurred.
The Kraken is to make its debut next October during a 2021-22 season the NHL hopes will follow a traditional timeline. During a conference call with media members Monday ahead of the league’s Wednesday launch of a pandemic-abbreviated 2020-21 campaign, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he has been told construction on the Kraken’s practice facility and a $930 million overhaul of Climate Pledge Arena is proceeding on schedule.
“Everything’s going great,’’ Bettman said. “They’re ready to go. The building’s going to be ready to go.’’
It wasn’t entirely clear whether Bettman was aware of the training center mishap when he made those comments. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who was on Monday’s call, added that giving the Kraken its best launch possible was behind the league’s push to end this coming season by early July and have an expansion draft later that month to remain on-track for a traditional October opening.
“We’re in constant communication with (general manager) Ron Francis and his group as well with respect for preparing for the expansion draft,’’ Daly said. “So, everything … is all teed up and in line for the expansion process.’’