Kraken fans celebrate expansion draft picks, announcement boosts business for local hockey bar

SEATTLE — Hockey fans packed bars and filled parking lots across the city as the NHL’s newest team, Seattle Kraken, filled out its roster.

Hundreds of hockey fans filled Gas Works Park Wednesday to take part in the long-awaited Seattle Kraken roster announcement.

In total, 30 hockey players were selected to join the Kraken for the inaugural season. One player was selected from each NHL team, except for Las Vegas, where the last expansion draft took place.

Meanwhile, watch parties took place across the city.

“It’s actually happening, I actually can’t believe it,” said Seattle resident Sean Lee as he stood near a watch party taking place at Dick’s Drive-In in Queen Anne.

“I mean, this is history in the making for Seattle,” said Sean’s friend, Cameron Wong.

In Greenwood, fans flocked to the local hockey-themed watering hole, The Angry Beaver.

The business reached capacity before the expansion draft even started.

“Total party, it’s a total party in there right now,” said owner, Tim Pipes. “I think we’ve all been waiting for years for this day to come; I really feel like it’s Christmas in Seattle today for hockey fans.”

Each time a draft pick was announced, the crowd cheered.

The festivities were live streamed to fans worldwide via a new fan-created podcast, Kraken Fancast.

“This is like Christmas today, we’re getting players, we’re so psyched,” said Kraken Fancast host, Chris Porter.

“We’re going to have a team in October, it’s around the corner and I’ve been waiting … I’ve been living here for 23 years, waiting for a NHL team, and here it is,” Porter continued.

Excitement surrounding the inaugural season has already brought a boost in business to The Angry Beaver. A welcomed sight, following a tough year of pandemic-related restrictions and closures.

“I’m a survivor, I’m a hockey player, you know? You get back up off the ice when you get knocked down, so I’m excited,” said Pipes. “Everybody coming together and the excitement about the Kraken club starting in October … it’s just, I’m over the moon.”

Pipes said he expects the Kraken-fueled boom in business to continue once the season kicks off in October.

“I think come October, when the puck drops at Climate Pledge Arena, I’m expecting to see a 25%, or maybe more, boost in my business,” said Pipes.