Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
According to The Athletic’s Ryan S. Clark, Macklemore, Sue Bird, Marshawn Lynch, Lenny Wilkins, Jordan Morris, Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Bobby Wagner, and Kyle Lewis are the special guests who will help unveil the Kraken’s roster at the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday night (8 PM ET, ESPN2).
Lynch is the former running back of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks while Wagner is currently a linebacker for the Seahawks. Lewis is an outfielder for the MLB’s Seattle Mariners. Bird is a point guard for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm while Payton played the same position with the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics from 1990-2002. Wilkins played for the SuperSonics from 1969-72 while Kemp played for them from 1989-97. Morris is a forward for the MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC.
“They’re all so into the Kraken. This was the easiest thing to book. The Kraken are the talk of the town right now,” said Steve Mayer, NHL’s chief content officer and the executive producer of the draft.
Macklemore, a rapper, was born in Kent, Washington, just under 30 minutes south of Seattle.
Most of the celebrities will appear at Gas Works Park in Seattle, where a crowd of Kraken fans will gather. That gathering will include fans on boats decorated in honor of the new NHL team, as the venue is located right on the Sound. There will also be a barge where much of the broadcast will take place, in view of the fans in the venue and those in their vessels.
But mostly, the expansion draft will be a way for the NHL’s newest team to become quickly engrained with its city, as places like the Seattle Aquarium, Mount Rainier and the Space Needle will be used as locations during the broadcast.
That includes one other familiar Seattle setting: Pike Place Market, where Mayer said they will incorporate one of the city’s most famous traditions into the draft.
“We’re going to throw a fish and reveal a pick,” he said.
Between now and 10 AM ET on Wednesday, the Kraken make their picks from each of the 30 teams eligible to lose a player in the expansion draft.
FROM THE NHL
NEW YORK / TORONTO – The National Hockey League today announced the special guests taking part in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft™ presented by Upper Deck. The Seattle Kraken™ will reveal its initial roster for its 2021-22 inaugural season live from Gas Works Park in Seattle on Wednesday, July 21, at 8 p.m. ET. on ESPN2 in the U.S. and on Sportsnet ONE, SN NOW and TVA Sports in Canada.
The Kraken have enlisted frontline workers from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and Seattle sports stars – past and present – Sue Bird, Marshawn Lynch, Lenny Wilkens, Jordan Morris, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Bobby Wagner and Kyle Lewis to help GM Ron Francis unveil the team’s selections. In addition, Kraken owner and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer, GRAMMY Award-winning artist Macklemore, women’s hockey legend and Kraken scout Cammi Granato, Kraken Intersectionality consultant Chanel Keenan and members of Western Washington Female Hockey and the Anchorage Hockey Academy will also take part.
“The excitement in Seattle for all things Kraken is tremendous and we hope to showcase that in the broadcast of the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft,” said Steve Mayer, NHL Chief Content Officer and Executive Producer of the event. “With support from the entire sports, arts and cultural communities in Seattle, we look forward to producing a memorable show that will not only celebrate the new members of the Kraken team but the city of Seattle.”
Hosted by Chris Fowler, Dominic Moore and Kevin Weekes, the broadcast will also feature Seattle locals, including Kraken season ticket holders, construction workers from the Kraken’s new home, Climate Pledge Arena, and iconic locations like the Pike Place Market, Seattle Aquarium, Space Needle and Mt. Rainier. The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck is produced by NHL Original Productions.
NHL.com, NHL Network and NHL Social will provide extensive coverage. Fans can join in the conversation using the official hashtag #SeattleDraft.
By Harrison Brown