Lynch, Kemp, Bird among stars at Kraken draft

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

As the Seattle Kraken select their first roster of players in Wednesday’s NHL expansion draft, some of the city’s most famous athletes will be announcing their names.

Scheduled to reveal players selected by the Kraken in the draft (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2) are Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner and former running back Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis, and former Seattle SuperSonics stars Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp as well as Hall of Fame coach Lenny Wilkens.

“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, the NHL’s chief content officer and the executive producer of the draft.

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 on the northern shore of Lake Union. 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.

Also expected to be on hand are Kraken owner and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer, rapper 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. Front-line workers from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health will help announce the team as well.

Mayer said that, under 72 hours away from the event, the NHL isn’t sure how many Kraken draft picks would be on site. Vegas had four players at its roster unveiling in 2017, and Mayer estimates there will be around that many for Seattle.

But mostly, the expansion draft will be a way for the NHL’s newest team to become quickly engrained with its city, as places such as 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.

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