A year ago this month, famed Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty laid a pie-in-the-face beatdown on a fake Kraken counterpart appropriately dubbed “Cuddles” during the expansion team’s first road trip.

Besides revving up Flyers fans before an on-ice rout of equal magnitude, the incident revived talk among Kraken supporters of when their new team would gain a real mascot to get crowds going and perhaps exact retribution.

Well, they got their answer before Saturday night’s puck drop against the Vancouver Canucks when a blue, scraggly sea troll with hockey-flow-style hair named Buoy rappelled from the Climate Pledge Arena rafters to launch a new chapter for a franchise hoping to advance its on- and off-ice legacy.

“There was a long list of names that we looked at,” said Lamont Buford, the Kraken’s vice president of live entertainment and game presentation. “We looked at the Seattle area, we looked at the water, we looked at our brand. And just like a buoy floating out on the water, it just happened to pop up and we stumbled on it.”

The team liked the way the name sounds when chanted, the troll links to Seattle pop culture and the mascot’s approachable look.


The Kraken had been one of only two NHL teams, with the New York Rangers, without mascots. Existing ones include Fin the Whale in Vancouver, Al the Octopus in Detroit, Blades the Bruin in Boston, SJ Sharkie in San Jose, Harvey the Hound in Calgary and Carlton the Bear in Toronto.

The Kraken’s mascot has been 18 months in planning and nearly launched after last Christmas. But the NHL schedule had been paused due to a COVID-19 resurgence, prompting the team to hold off.

Buoy is said to be a nephew of the Fremont Troll, the 18-foot, 13,000-pound concrete structure situated beneath a section of the Aurora Bridge. That troll was created in 1989 by local artists Steve Badaness, Will Martin, Donna Walter and Ross Whitehead in an art competition to spruce up the neighborhood.

Sporting a Number “0” team jersey, Buoy supposedly resides “in the caverns of Climate Pledge Arena,” and legend has it he’s met the actual Kraken — toting a souvenir blue tentacle from the encounter.

His — yes, the mascot is a “he” — left ear has a gold anchor earring. Buoy can also pop out one of his front teeth for what a Kraken spokesperson likened to a “Jamie Oleksiak” look. 

In an interview before Saturday night’s debut, Buoy said — well, he said nothing, as mascots can’t speak, though he’ll always have an accompanying minder or two to answer questions.


Despite his gruff origins, the Kraken say Buoy is a “kid friendly” troll that can skate, dance and loves hockey, people and Seattle-inspired music. His favorite food is “a piece of shark and a sprig of maple leaf,” which should make things interesting when San Jose and Toronto come to town.

Buoy’s design by the team, the Chicago Mascot Company and 3PT productions, was partly inspired by the former “Squatch” mascot of the since-relocated NBA Sonics. The Kraken balked at adopting Squatch as theirs, insisting the Sonics will return to Seattle. 

They also avoided a “Kraken” squid likeness, wanting to maintain the mystery of a creature never shown on official team items. They plan to sell Buoy T-shirts and plushies.

And while Buoy might mildly antagonize opposing players, forget about him going all John Hayden on Gritty to avenge last year’s antics. It turns out they are now friends after the Kraken approached Gritty and other NHL mascots, as well as Blitz from the Seahawks, for performance advice.

Some NHL mascots, Gritty in particular, seem to court controversy more than others.

Harvey the Hound had his tongue yanked out by Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish during a 2003 game.


The Minnesota Wild had to apologize in 2017 when mascot Nordy did a staged, celebratory birthday skit in which he took a baseball bat to “Tommy Hawk” of the rival Chicago Blackhawks and pummeled him into fake unconsciousness.

For now, Buoy doesn’t plan to seek out trouble and was to spend Saturday’s game wandering the arena meeting fans. He’ll also be at Sunday morning’s Kraken practice and then the Mariners game that afternoon at T-Mobile Park. 

“I think fans want a mascot,” Kraken chief marketing officer Katie Townsend said. “It’s also great for us to have a brand ambassador who … can be a representative for our brand at hospitals, community visits, with our corporate partners.”

But if trouble comes looking for Buoy? Well, a troll isn’t exactly an angel. At the very least Buoy can serve as a deterrent in case new pal Gritty or his fuzzy NHL cohorts ever contemplate taking liberties with fake Kraken likenesses again.