KCLS’ Kraken Partnership is a Playoff Winner

Patrons Root for Team at KCLS-Kraken Watch Parties

Jason Miller is a regular at the Auburn Library, but his patronage paid off in unexpected ways when the library hosted Seattle Kraken watch parties.

Miller, who has been experiencing homelessness, had first gone to the library “because it’s a public space.” He found a home base, using the computers to look for work, read newspapers, browse the shelves and interact with staff.

Thanks to a first-time partnership between the Seattle Kraken and the King County Library System, Auburn was one of six libraries that staffed after-hours watch parties for the team’s Stanley Cup quest. When Miller learned he could stay in the library even longer, plus enjoy free snacks and meet people, he was game.

“I came to the Kraken playoffs because it meant you could hang out at the library a few more hours,” he said. “I knew the Seattle Kraken as a sport team, as I know a lot about sports. But I’d never watched NHL hockey. I turned into a big fan.”

Big fan indeed. Miller attended almost every watch party and enjoyed the camaraderie. In what he called a life-changing bonus, he won two tickets to a Kraken home game.

Miller was one of over 200 patrons who attended 33 total family-friendly events at Auburn, Bellevue, Bothell, Federal Way, Kent and Renton Libraries. Many attendees brought their children, including one two-year-old at Bothell who moved a puck around with a toddler hockey stick. Patrons wore Kraken jerseys and chatted up fellow fans, nibbling on snacks, and “saving money on beer.” They said cheering for goals and groaning at losses reinforced social connections and feelings of solidarity.

“It was a good offering,” said Katie Boyes, one of the KCLS staff members who worked later hours to make the watch parties possible. “People were really thankful, and it was fun to see the young kids play together.”

Kevin B. said at a Bellevue watch party that “the Kraken games are expensive, so this works for me. I enjoyed the atmosphere; I’ll come again.”
Miller felt the same, never expecting to see a game “live.”

“Getting to meet new people was great,” he said, recalling talking to a staff member from his hometown (near Spokane), as well as other library staff and fellow hockey fans.

In the second round of the playoffs, Miller was told he had won two free tickets in a team ticket giveaway.

“My best memory was being able to go to something I couldn’t afford, with my best friend from back home,” Miller said. “He couldn’t believe it when I called him and told him what I won.”

The two sports fans went to Climate Pledge Arena for the first time, watching Game four of the series. Although the Kraken lost to Dallas, 6-3, it was exhilarating.
“It was so fun,” Miller said. “The atmosphere was electric. We met great people. It was a priceless memory with a lifetime friend; a lifetime experience for sure.”

He is grateful that the library is a place for everyone, including those experiencing homelessness, adding, “I think KCLS and the Kraken should keep up this partnership and maybe let others go to a (free) game. It’s amazing and might instill some hope in people for a better life.”