SEATTLE – Visually, Garrett Goody stood out.
In a sea of blue blankets and fans in Kraken gear during Wednesday night’s NHL expansion draft at Gas Works Park, Goody’s red, white and green Seattle Metropolitans jersey was easy to pick out of the crowd.
“I think the legacy is really important,” he said. “Seattle in general has a really storied tradition of sports. The culture of the city is very entrenched in where we were before, so I think the history of hockey is just as important. I’m not the only one I’ve seen wearing this here so people still know, people still remember.”
Goody, one of around 4,000 who attended Wednesday’s draft, has been a hockey fan for around seven years. But without an NHL team in his city, Goody never had one to call his own – until now.
The Kraken’s roster was announced during the draft, just about two and a half years after the franchise was first announced and almost a century – 97 years – after the Metropolitans folded despite winning the 1917 Stanley Cup, the first American team to do so.
For Seattle NHL fans, it has been a long wait. Luisa Klein has been a fan for 10 years, and she’s excited to finally see the Kraken come into existence.
“It‘s very exciting,” she said. “I couldn’t wait for this day. It’s great.”
Though Seattle’s fans are excited to welcome NHL players to the Emerald City, they’re not the only ones.
Another fan at the draft, Eddie Hall, said he had never followed hockey. But after the Kraken were awarded to Seattle, Hall knew he had to start following the NHL and said veteran hockey fans have been welcoming as he’s learned the intricacies of hockey.
“A lot of Black people aren’t into hockey,” said Hall, who is Black. “But I’m gonna try to get into this game. That’s why I went and bought all this gear. I want to get involved.”
Goody, Hall and Klein all also mentioned how excited they were to introduce NHL fans to Seattle. All brought up the success and high attendances of other Seattle-based teams and hope that continues with the Kraken.
The attendance at the expansion draft seemed to support that, as tickets to the event weren’t easy to get. Goody said he logged on to get his tickets just 10 minutes after they were released and missed out. However, when a friend offered him an extra ticket, he didn’t hesitate.
“I was pretty stoked about that,” he said.
Not having a ticket didn’t stop people from showing up in other ways. Boats, kayaks and paddle boarders – decorated with Kraken memorabilia – crowded onto Lake Union, watching the expansion draft from the water.
That included kayaker Loryn Peterson.
A hockey fan since she was in college, Peterson said the environment, both on and off shore, was fantastic.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “We got a great day for it.”
Goody and Klein also were excited to see their team finally take shape after a long wait. But Hall, perhaps, explained the feeling best.
“I’m going to be able to tell my grandkids, when the Kraken start winning all these championships and stuff, ‘Hey, I was here from the beginning,’ ” he said.
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