On Oct. 1, 2022, the Seattle Kraken released their new mascot and it got interesting reviews from fans. Buoy, the mascot, is a troll with blue hair. Buoy’s creation and identity all stem from local Seattle things. For example, Buoy is a troll which is a representation for the Fremont Troll sculpture located in Seattle. The iconic sculpture has been featured in different movies and has grown to be a landmark in Seattle. By acknowledging the famous Seattle art in the new mascot, the Kraken hope to help create a more cohesive environment with the Kraken and the city as well as show appreciation for the city. The blue that Buoy adorns ties into the Kraken’s colors (deep sea blue, ice blue, boundless blue, shadow blue, and red alert) to feed into the collective idea of the deep, mysterious Pacific Ocean where Seattle rests on the coast of. Finally, the name Buoy itself pays homage to the sea as a buoy is a floating device that marks where it is safe to swim or any other directions for people out at sea.
However, why didn’t the Kraken just have a kraken as their mascot? Many Seattle fans asked this after the release of Buoy. It would have been easier and made more sense, but the Kraken thought otherwise; with Buoy, the troll is a more friendlier presence to younger fans in comparison to a kraken which is a scary sea monster. While a kraken is a good name for a team, encompassing all the grit, tenacity, and a-force-to-reckoned-with attitude, it might be too much for younger fans which are key demographics for the Kraken. Any good sport marketer knows that in order to have lifelong fans, one must expose the sport as early as possible for someone. That’s why most children will carry their favorite teams with them until they are older; it’s what they had growing up and got attached to. For the Kraken, having a fun, loveable mascot for children is crucial to growing not only the NHL team’s fan base but also the sport of hockey itself in the Seattle region, even expanding out to the rest of the Pacific Northwest.
Despite all of their efforts to make the mascot fun for everyone, the Kraken have received backlash about Buoy. Some people are just confused as to why Buoy even exists and let alone is a troll. Others just like poking fun at the mascot and calling Buoy creepy due to its doll-like features. One fan even mentioned that Buoy looks like a sleep paralysis demon. However, not all hope is lost for the Kraken; some people do enjoy Buoy! One tweet even compared Buoy to Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, saying “remember, gritty was universally disliked when he debuted, and now he is one of the most beloved mascots in all of sports. Give Buoy time to build a personality.” Hopefully, Buoy will come around and make its way into the hearts of all Kraken fans, but right now the mascot is making an entrance on the ice and on social media doing what Buoy does best, being a troll!