Excitement building ahead of Kraken draft

SEATTLE — On the day before Seattle Kraken fans learned who will make up the season’s inaugural team, anticipation was building.

“I think it’s going to be amazing. I think they’re going to do a real good job with the fanfare,” said Grayson Nelson as he walked into the Kraken team store. “I think this is really going to show the world Seattle is next-level for sports.”

The expansion draft for the NHL team is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday. And Tuesday, workers were preparing at Gas Works Park on Lake Union.

People without tickets to the party can bring boats, kayaks and paddleboards and watch the event on a giant screen that will be floating on a barge in Lake Union.

The Krakens call it “sailgating.”

Uptown Hophouse, a stone’s throw from Climate Pledge Arena, will be among the bars hosting watch parties.

“You can’t go anywhere without seeing Kraken shirts, hats. You see more than you do Seahawks nowadays,” said owner Kirbie Predmore.

RJ Eskanos runs the Emerald City Hockey website and spent the day looking around Seattle for clues about the team’s picks.

“We’ve been doing mock drafts for months trying to figure out who the Kraken are going to take. They’ve been pretty tight-lipped about everything, but we’re going to find out a lot tomorrow,” he said.