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A surreal experience: Seattle Kraken fans celebrate first official game in Vegas

Hundreds of Seattle Kraken logos, jerseys, and hats could be seen on the Vegas strip Tuesday.

LAS VEGAS — It isn't the kind of history that is manufactured on the Vegas Strip, with the likes of Roman rulers and Parisian cafes. 

This is real. It's the kind of moment people pay big money to be a part of. The kind of moment that John Barr, nor Paul Buxton were going to miss.

“Four years ago the two of us were standing right around here,” said Buxton, holding his handmade sign for the occasion.  

The two could be called fan advocates who went to every rally, city council meeting, or forum for the past decade.  Barr even runs the website NHLtoSeattle.com, which has stoked local interest in the sport.

“I’ve been getting teary-eyed all day. It's an insane, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, my dream is coming true tonight,” Barr said. “This is the gravy. We can be fans now, we don't have to show up a city council meetings, we don't have to advocate for people to show up at rallies.”

"It's kinda crazy that it's actually happening," said Crystal Hackmeister of Redmond, who flew down to Las Vegas with her husband Jeff. 

"We watched the city council meetings in Glendale, Arizona when we thought the Coyotes were gonna move," Jeff said. "We thought they were coming. We've watched this whole process. It's surreal to be here." 

Perhaps then, it was fitting with all those ups and downs, that just under the rollercoaster at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino, the Seattle Kraken played their first game in franchise history. 

The Hackmeisters weren't alone on Tuesday in Vegas. Hundreds of Kraken logos, jerseys, and hats could be seen on the Vegas strip, a sign of the magnitude of this first-ever game. 

"At the Starbucks line this morning there were Kraken fans in front and behind me," said Mike and Kim Meyers of Sammamish, who were playing some pre-game cornhole with son Zachary.  

"The flights weren't too bad. The hotel, the tickets are cheaper," Mike said. 

A quick look Tuesday afternoon showed the "get in" price for the first game in Vegas was under $200. Lower bowl tickets in Seattle for the first game at Climate Pledge Arena are going for quadruple digits. 

It didn't matter that the weather hasn't been cooperating, meeting most fans with wind, dust storms, and rain upon their arrival. 

"The haze outside was terrible," Kim said. But, "Thankfully I have something long sleeve," she said as she pointed to her Kraken sweater. 

As far as the outcome Tuesday night, no one wanted to make any predictions and considered the entire outing an event. 

"I said 95 points (for the year)," said Hackmeister. "I'm sticking to 95 points. That game against Vancouver is going to be incredible."

As the Kraken took the ice for warmups Tuesday, Buxton held his phone up.  His eyes welled up.  

“I gotta capture this,” he said.  “My life is now complete.”

Ultimately, the game didn't go Seattle's way. The Kraken rallied from a 3-0 deficit to score three goals. The final tally was a 4-3 victory for the Knights. 

RELATED: Seattle Kraken succumb to Las Vegas Golden Knights in franchise opening game

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