Kraken fans attending the NHL Expansion Draft at Gas Works Park in Seattle.

It’s official; The Seattle Kraken has become the 32nd franchise in the National Hockey League (NHL). Seattle is no stranger to professional hockey. The Seattle Metropolitans were dominant in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915 to 1924, winning the Stanley Cup in 1917 and making three total appearances. The team shut down in 1924 after an unsuccessful search for a home rink to replace the Seattle Ice Arena.

The Seattle Kraken chose one player each from 30 NHL teams (Vegas was exempt but does not share in the $650 million expansion fee paid by Seattle ownership).
The players were announced at Gas Works Park in a live event attended by some 2,000 fans and hundreds more sail-gating just offshore.

Ron Francis, the Kraken’s general manager, is no stranger to the grind of the NHL. Francis ranks second all-time in NHL assists behind the great Wayne Gretzky, fifth all-time in scoring, and fifth all-time in games played. Additionally, the two-time Stanley Cup champion was named into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November 2007.

Dave Hakstol was named as the Kraken’s first head coach. Hakstol reached The Stanley Cup Playoffs in two of his first full three seasons as a head coach in the NHL. He soared as an NCAA coach for North Dakota leading them to the Frozen Four seven times and was named a finalist for National Coach of the Year in eight of his 11 seasons.

Hakstol coached the Flyers from 2015-2016 and a bit of the 2018-2019 season. He went 134-101-42 in the regular season and reached the playoffs twice, unsuccessfully winning a single series. But with his collegiate record, there is a chance he rises to the occasion.

The Kraken is owned by David Wright, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Andy Jassy. The hope of the new expansion also takes the idea of bringing back the Sonics to a whole new level. With a newer stadium and an energized city, there is no stopping the future of Seattle sports.

Over the years, many fans have rallied around the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Everett Silvertips to enjoy a hockey game and become a part of its hardcore fanbase. You can hear the Tips game radio broadcast on our KRKO station. Because of these teams, Seattle sports fans could catch a glimpse of how great hockey can be.

Some of the city’s best ambassadors took the stage both virtually and in-person to announce some of the newest members of the Kraken family. Sue Bid, four-time WNBA Champion, 12-time WNBA All-star, and captain of the Seattle Storm announced Jordan Eberle, a forward from the New York Islanders. Former Sonics point guard, nine-time NBA All-Star, and NBA Champion Gary Payton announced John Quenneville, a forward from the Chicago Blackhawks. And Payton’s teammate, six-time NBA All-star, Shawn Kemp also announced Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi. Bobby Wagner, Kyle Lewis, Marshawn Lynch, and Macklemore also graced the stage to announce various picks.

With the new expansion and upgrades at the former Sonics and Storm facility, Key Arena, Climate Pledge Arena is a breath of fresh air for Seattle sports fans everywhere. The top of line arena cost over $850 million and was approved unanimously 8-0 by the Seattle City Council. It will seat 18,100 viewers and is aiming to be the first International Living Future Institute Zero-Carbon certified professional sports venue in the world.

The Kraken will have their home opener against the Vancouver Canucs on October 23 at Climate Pledge Arena. Season tickets sold out in less than 12 minutes. The team will have three preseason games at three different locations throughout Washington. The first game will be Sunday, September 26, at 6 p.m. against the Vancouver Conucks at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The second will take place Friday, October 1, at 7 p.m. against the Edmonton Oilers in Everett at the Angel of the Winds Arena. The final preseason game will be held Saturday, October 2, at 7 p.m. against the Calgary Flames in Kent at the Accesso ShoWare Center.

Here is the list of the players chosen in last nights Expansion Draft:

Jeremy Lauzon, D, Boston Bruins
William Borgen, D, Buffalo Sabres
Dennis Cholowski, D, Detroit Red Wings
Chris Drieger, G, Florida Panthers
Cale Fleury, D, Montreal Canadiens
Joey Daccord, G, Ottawa Senators
Yanni Gourde, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
Jared McCann, C, Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Geekie, C, Carolina Hurricanes
Gavin Bayreuther, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Nathan Bastian, RW, New Jersey Devils
Jordan Eberle, RW, New York Islanders
Colin Blackwell, C, New York Rangers
Carsen Twaryenski, LW, Philadelphia Flyers
Brandon Tanev, D, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vitek Vanecek, G, Washington Capitals
Tyler Pitlick, C, Arizona Coyotes
John Quenneville, C, Chicago Blackhawks
Joonas Donskoi, RW, Colorado Avalanche
Jamie Oleksiak, D, Dallas Stars
Carson Soucy, D, Minnesota Wild
Calle Jarnkrok, C, Nashville Predators
Vince Dunn, D, St. Louis Blues
Mason Appleton, C, Winnipeg Jets
Haydn Fleury, D, Anaheim Ducks
Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames
Adam Larsson, D, Edmonton Oilers
Kurtis MacDermid, D, Los Angeles Kings
Alexander True, F, San Jose Sharks
Kole Lind, RW, Vancouver Canucks

Daniel Albert is an Award-Winning journalist majoring in Integrated Strategic Communications at Washington State University.