A multiyear partnership announced Wednesday between Starbucks and the Kraken saw the coffee giant help pick the name of the team’s planned $80-million Northgate Mall training center, which will now be called Kraken Community Iceplex.
The community-themed deal did not include naming rights, but Starbucks did work with the team to pick the name from a list of options. The deal will see Starbucks open a community store within the Northgate facility, with a percentage of profits going to the team’s One Roof Foundation and other local nonprofits.
“Starbucks has tremendous pride in our hometown, and we are honored to work with an organization like the Seattle Kraken which shares our values,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a joint news release issued with the team. “The people in our city represent the very best of us, and working together, we’re committed to strengthening the Seattle community, celebrating our neighbors, and building a lasting partnership that uplifts the lives of people and families across the Puget Sound.”
Starbucks presently operates 20 community stores nationwide, which work to provide opportunities to people from underserved communities by hiring locally, partnering with nonprofits, providing space for events and programs and working with local artists.
The deal will see Starbucks and the Kraken undertake what they termed “key investments” and work with local nonprofits — including the One Roof Foundation, Black Girl Hockey Club, YouthCare, Boys and Girls Club and Washington Wild — to address access to resources and opportunities for youth, particularly girls and people of color. Starbucks will establish an ongoing Puck Drop Grant, awarding an initial $50,000 to Seattle-based Youth Care for its work with homeless teenagers and young adults.
Starbucks also will be the exclusive coffee served at both the Iceplex and the team’s main arena. The three-rink training center is set to partially open for the team next month and then fully to the public by mid-September, while the main arena is to open by October.
The Iceplex will serve as the Kraken corporate headquarters, with the main ice rink holding up to 1,000 spectators and used by the team for daily practices. The two additional ice surfaces — and the main one when the Kraken isn’t practicing — are for local ice hockey leagues, tournaments, public skating, figure skating and other activities.
“We are so excited that Starbucks and the Kraken, two impact-driven community leaders, are joining forces to help expand access to resources and opportunities to Seattle-area youth,” Suzanne Sullivan, YouthCare’s chief advancement officer, said in the release Wednesday. “We look forward to building this partnership together to transform the lives of young people experiencing homelessness through employment, education, and community programs, for years to come.”
One Roof Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Kraken and its Oak View Group partners developing Climate Pledge Arena, has made youth homelessness one of three key areas it plans to target — along with improving youth access to hockey and promoting environmental justice. The foundation has embarked on a 10-year partnership with YouthCare to help supply jobs and training for those using its services, in addition to a $10-million financial commitment over the duration of that time span.
Mari Horita, the Kraken’s vice president of community engagement and social impact, said in a May interview the foundation’s goal is to be more than a “third-party funder” for nonprofit groups. That means, she said, actively trying to implement change through partnerships and action rather than simply writing checks.
“At this moment in time, in our country, we’re at a sea change,” said Horita, who is also One Roof’s executive director. “And as we emerge from events of the past year, I believe there’s a largely shared understanding that we need to go back and do things a little bit differently. And we need to do it in a way that’s better and a way that includes everybody.”
Another component of the Starbucks deal will see 100 community members — including first-responders, nonprofit workers, educators and other community figures — invited to every Kraken home game.
“Since inception, the Seattle Kraken have been committed to the greater Seattle community, and there is no better partner to amplify this commitment than Starbucks,” Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke said. “We are proud to
join forces with such a like-minded change agent, and we both agree that collectively we will make a lasting impact on our region.”