Seattle will open the season with its first home game at Climate Pledge Arena on May 6th the club announced on Thursday afternoon. It’s a schedule that starts with six of its first eight games at home; which leads to six of its last eight being on the road. The tweet that announced the schedule included the franchise legend Sue Bird, whom has still not officially confirmed if she is coming back for another season.
The front loaded slate of home games is most likely to take advantage of fan interest in the new arena. Especially since all of four of the weekday home games during that stretch have tip-off scheduled for 7:00 PM with some of the best teams in the league.
That first game against the Minnesota Lynx pairs the No. 3 team in the league (from 2021) against the No. 4 team — Seattle finished a game back from the Lynx last season. Depending on the off season moves that either squad makes, and what injuries off of the European season look like, that game should be an entertaining start to the club’s first season at its new building. Seattle’s next home game is against Phoenix (the Mercury knocked the Storm out in the second round) and then the Storm host the defending WNBA champions on May 18th at 7PM.
It should be a fairly tough start for the Storm as they look to make another run at a league title.
At 41 years old, Bird is one of the oldest players in the league and arguably its biggest name to the casual fan. She’s often been referred to as the GOAT of women’s basketball and the question about whether or not she will return for the 2022 season still swirls.
She was present at the Kraken’s first home game in Climate Pledge. In an interview with ESPN a few days later she was impressed with the building and called playing in it “very tempting”.
“We just opened a new arena here in Seattle, and I happened to be in there for the opening of the Kraken game. And … it was tempting. The thoughts of playing there were very tempting. I’ll leave you with that.”Kevin Pelton, ESPN
Bird also pointed out in that interview that the WNBA’s free agency doesn’t start for a while so she still had time to make a decision. In case you were wondering, contract negotiations between teams and free agents can start on Jan. 15th; starting on Feb. 1st free agents can begin to sign those contracts.
Unlike the franchise’s first home, Climate Pledge was built with home and road locker rooms for all three of the league’s it was designed to host. This includes the Storm. Shortly after that Kraken home game, Seattle had sent out a picture of Bird entering the Storm’s new locker room in the building.
The Storm’s decision to use Bird in the graphic announcing the schedule, unsurprisingly, sent its fan base into a frenzy on Twitter.
Personally, I would find it surprising if Bird didn’t come back for a final season and a chance to open up the new building with her fifth championship. Seattle has an insanely talented roster that should give the legend a chance to do just that.
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Photo Credit: Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times via AP