Spokane’s Yamamoto scores historic goal in Kraken home opener
Oct 17, 2023, 8:12 PM | Updated: Oct 18, 2023, 11:23 am
The Seattle Kraken hit home ice for the first time in the 2023-24 NHL season on Tuesday, and their first goal of the night came with a special kind of history.
The Kraken took a 1-0 lead against the Colorado Avalanche – sound familiar? – at the 15:09 mark in the opening period, but what made it special is who scored it: Spokane native Kailer Yamamoto. That made the goal the first in Kraken history by a native Washingtonian.
The 25-year-old Yamamoto joined Seattle in free agency this offseason, and the right wing already went into the record books last week as the first native of Washington to suit up for the Kraken. As cool as that may be, it doesn’t get much more special than the local boy scoring the first goal of the season in front of the Pacific Northwest fans.
Best moment in Washington NHL history? Maybe. Most Washington moment in NHL history? Almost definitely.
Watch the goal here:
— NHL (@NHL) October 18, 2023
Per Seattle Kraken PR, Yamamoto is one of 23 Washington natives to be taken in the NHL Draft, and as the No. 22 overall selection in 2017 by Edmonton, he is the highest-drafted active Washingtonian in the league. He’s also fourth among players from Washington in career points, behind only T.J. Oshie, Tyler Johnson and Derek Ryan.
Yamamoto already has a few other historic distinctions in Washington/NHL history. He became the first player from Washington to score a goal against the Kraken, doing so in a Nov. 1, 2021 game in Edmonton to help the Oilers win 5-2. Then on Dec. 18, 2021, Yamamoto scored the first point ever in Seattle by a Washington native, logging an assist in a 5-3 Oilers win. Finally, he scored the first goal in Seattle by a player from Washington on March 18, 2023, which was a 6-4 Oilers win.
Prior to joining the Kraken, Yamamoto played 244 games over six seasons with the Oilers. He also spent four seasons in the Western Hockey League with his hometown Spokane Chiefs.
The Kraken entered Tuesday’s home opener looking for both their first win of the season, and their first win in any kind of opener as a franchise. Unfortunately for Seattle, the Avalanche used a pair of shorthanded goals to win 4-1. Now in their third season, the Kraken are so far 0-6 combined in season openers and home openers.
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