Fans and businesses prepare for Seattle Kraken's NHL Expansion Draft at Gas Works Park

The Seattle Kraken will take center stage as the city’s new professional hockey team prepares to announce its new players. The team will host a star-studded NHL Expansion Draft at Gas Works Park on July 21.

Crews continued preparing the stage on Tuesday ahead of the big event that will broadcast live on ESPN2. Sports legends like Sue Bird, Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton are slated to announce the draft picks.

The entire park will be closed Wednesday since the space will be used as a filming set. About 4,000 hockey fans who were lucky enough to score a free ticket are expected to attended the show.

Ticket holders must keep all lawn chairs and umbrellas at home. Tickets are not available for purchase on-site the day of, and there is no assigned seating. Fans can bring signs just as long as they’re no larger than two by three feet without poles attached. Fans will have to go through metal detectors and bag checks at the gates for safety. Details about the prohibited items policy are available online.

A giant screen will be near Lake Union so boaters can watch from the water. Boaters can tune into 104.2 FM for event audio while on the water.

For those who don’t have tickets to the event, the Kraken is partnering with several area businesses to host watch parties and offer gift giveaways. Rookies Sports Bar and Grill in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood expects to be packed with people watching the show.

"I think it’s good for the energy, for sure. And we have a lot of people that come here just for other hockey games, so it’s just going to be really awesome that they can finally come here or go to an actual game that’s Seattle-based," said Shantelle Knapstad, Rookies general manager.

Hockey fan Ernie Martin plans to be at Rookies to watch the show.

"It’s the beginning of a new creation of sports for Seattle," said Martin. "Outstanding opportunity for sports fans like myself to enjoy."

The Kraken provided partnering restaurants with free swag to give to fans, like t-shirts, hats and flags. The gifts are available on a first come, first served basis. Knapstad said she believes the excitement about the team could help the local economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think people have just been waiting for this for so long, especially with COVID. It’s finally here, we finally have a hockey team," said Knapstad.

Other businesses partnering with the team for watch parties include Chandler’s Cove, Queen Anne Beer Hall, Petoskeys Sports Bar and Grill, Ozzie's, LTD, George and Dragon, Double J Saloon, Angry Beaver and more. 

A full list of locations in Seattle and outside of Seattle are available on the team's website.

The event is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m., with the live broadcast of the draft selection beginning at 5 p.m.

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