We’re now more than a month into an NHL postponement and there is still no clear timeline on when professional hockey will return. While fans of the sport have received small tidbits of news over that time, including college signings and contract extensions, the thirst for discussion has rarely been quenched.
With that in mind, we’re happy to continue our new feature: The PHR Panel. Our writing staff will give our individual takes on a question many hockey fans have been wondering about. If you’d ever like to submit a subject for us to discuss, be sure to put it in the comments.
To catch up on the previous edition, click here.
Today, with another report that the Seattle expansion franchise is close to revealing a team name, we’ll give our thoughts on what we would choose.
Q: What would you name the Seattle expansion franchise?
Brian La Rose:
Most people seem to like Kraken as Seattle’s eventual team name (and that’s what I think it will be in the end) so I’ll go in a different direction for this discussion. Let’s go back in time about 100 years back to the old days of the PCHA where there was a team called the Seattle Metropolitans. That team very quietly won the Stanley Cup back in 1917 and had a shot at another one in 1919 before the Spanish flu pandemic struck so there is some history worth celebrating.
We’ve seen a shift in recent years towards franchises embracing the past. Retro uniforms are quite popular (though I’m not advocating for the Metropolitans to go back to their old sweaters – they were a bit of an eyesore) and alumni nights in some cities are more frequent. We’ve seen an old team name revived in the past with the Ottawa Senators (who coincidentally played against the Metropolitans in the 1920 Stanley Cup Final) so there is some precedence here as well.
Yes, there could be some confusion with the team effectively sharing the same name as the Metropolitan Division. But there’s an easy fix to that – just change the name of the division which wouldn’t be a bad idea in the first place. Embrace some of hockey’s past and fix a poorly-named division at the same time? That’s a win-win situation right there.
I keep looking at all the names and there are several I like. However, whenever I see a new team coming up with a nickname (in any sport, at any level), I often find myself disappointed in generic names that don’t tie in with the city or town’s local history.
I keep hearing the name Kraken over and over again. Not sure whether that will end up being that name, but naming the Seattle franchise after a mythical creature doesn’t make much sense to me. I look at a name like the Sockeyes and I like how the name ties in with the Seattle salmon culture, while also being a name that could have a second-meaning of being punched in the eye, which seems very hockey-like in my opinion.
Granted, I’m not the one making the decision, nor should I, but I definitely am a fan of the Sockeye and hope that is what the Seattle franchise eventually goes with. Will I be disappointed if they go with anything else? No. I can even live with the Kraken, but I would rather see that name tie in with the city in a better way than a mythical creature.
The name, logo, and colors of an expansion team is more important than you might think. While merchandising and licensing are just a small fraction of a franchise’s income, the first impression created by their name and look has a far greater reaching impact. Especially in the internet age, a new club can build their fan base beyond their geographical limits by having a “cool” name, popular mascot or unique color scheme. Just look at the Premier Lacrosse League for example; the 2019 start-up had no geographical attachment and most fans were left to pick a team to root for by color and logo only, leading to a number of creative and diverse designs.
So while the Seattle expansion team has several nostalgic traditional names on the table– Metropolitans and Seals for example–as well as more locally-influenced options such as Rainiers and Emeralds, I believe the team should go in a more progressive direction and choose a name, logo, and colors that more widely appeal to North American and even global audiences and the younger generation.
To accomplish this goal, I would say that Kraken is the best option for the team name. The uniqueness and whimsical nature of the name will stand out and there is a ton of potential for a great logo and colors. I think that the Kraken is different enough from any other professional moniker out there to really drum up interest in the team via merchandise sales and publicity. If the majority opinion online is any indication, Kraken would be a hit.
In that same vein, the internet also reacted strongly to a rumor that the team’s colors could be salmon and teal, which would likely indicate the Sockeyes moniker. Has any pro team ever attempted such bold color choices? Such a move would be sure to sell a ton of merchandise that would undoubtedly turn heads. Sockeyes would also appeal to the local fan base, as would the alliteration that seems to be a theme with Seattle sports.
While it may not realistically be on the board, I will also throw out Sasquatch as a great option to draw attention to the new club. The mascot alone would be a game-changer and there is potential for a good logo. However, this does toe the line of too silly if not done properly and there is no clear color scheme either.
Let’s get this out of the way immediately; I hate the name Kraken. I hate it. I don’t want the Seattle Kraken in the NHL. I’m probably going to be disappointed when they announce it as the team name, but I just hate it.
I get the idea behind the traditional names, especially the Metropolitans and Totems. But I don’t think I would name the new franchise those either. I would go for something new and non-alliterative.
I kind of like the idea of the Seattle Freeze. It’s a clever way to poke fun at the city—Seattle Freeze has been a way to describe the population’s standoffish demeanor for years—and could lend itself to some interesting marketing opportunities. Even that name though brings a little bit of hesitation, because of the corny connection to ice, but it might be what I go with.
Honestly, as long as it’s not Kraken I would be happy. Totems. Metropolitans. Pilots. Sockeye (or Sockeyes?). Wait, no I don’t want Emeralds or Sasquatch either. I’m a bit pickier than I thought.