SEATTLE -- On one of those fall days too beautiful to ignore, staffers of Oak View Group and NHL Seattle gathered Wednesday with dignitaries of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribal Council and Muckleshoot Casino to mark the occasion of a new partnership.
NHL Seattle announced Muckleshoot Indian Tribe's Muckleshoot Casino as an official partner and sponsor. The tribe celebrated the event with a blessing song performed at the site of the New Arena at Seattle Center. Three Muckleshoot Tribe members performed "Rosie's Song," composed by a living elder, Rosie Anderson, that expresses happiness and strength in the Southern Lushootseed language.
"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 Indian 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."
Mari Horita, NHL Seattle's vice president of community engagement and philanthropy, welcomed the gathering at the south rim of the New Arena's subterranean undertaking, calling it a "glorious day" to celebrate the partnership because "this whole project is about honoring the past and embracing the future."
The Muckleshoot Tribe and NHL Seattle partnership is a great fit in many ways. While Oak View Group and NHL Seattle continue construction to complete the New Arena in 2021, Muckleshoot is working on a massive expansion of the casino and hotel tower to be finished in, yes, 2021.
"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 and also benefited many areas of South King County [benefiting schools, nonprofit organizations, churches]. It provides resources needed to improve the tribal community's quality of life, preserve its culture and lays the groundwork for a bright future."
Donny Stevenson noted the New Arena's original and landmark roof, now supported by temporary steel columns and beams, was designed by Seattle architect Paul Thiry to symbolize a native First Nations rain hat made with cedar weaving.
Granito said he played pond hockey is his day, growing up a Philadelphia Flyers fan.
"Trust me, I will be a NHL Seattle fan," he said, smiling, "I'm ready to buy that jersey."