NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

Release The Kraken! Seattle’s NHL team gets a name at last, and it’s drawing attention

As of this morn­ing, Seat­tle’s Nation­al Hock­ey League fran­chise offi­cial­ly has a name: The Krak­en. Through what Seat­tle NHL offi­cials have called method­i­cal process of elim­i­na­tion, the fran­chise set­tled on the myth­i­cal sea crea­ture for the team name as opposed to alter­na­tives like Sock­eye, Steel­head, or Totems.

The team also unveiled a logo and jer­sey design to go with the name.

“We’ve heard from tens and tens of thou­sands of fans, and we’ve spent two years lis­ten­ing,” CEO Tod Lei­weke said in a state­ment.

“Every day for the past two years, we’ve thought about this moment, and we knew if we did lis­ten, we could­n’t go wrong — that we would be in a posi­tion, if we sim­ply lis­tened, to build that next great team brand.”

“They lis­tened to the fans,” Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Ron Fran­cis said. “They did forums. They did polls. They did events. They worked with­in the team and our lead­er­ship and the NHL and local artists and nam­ing experts and his­to­ri­ans and every­body else to kind of get where they want­ed to get to and get the logo drawn up.”

“At the end of the day, the Krak­en con­sis­tent­ly rose to the top.”

Team offi­cials also teased the future game­day expe­ri­ence:

Our are­na [the ren­o­vat­ed Seat­tle Cen­ter Col­i­se­um] will be feared. An icon­ic roof stand­ing nobly against the Olympic Moun­tains, yet beneath awaits danger…The sub­ter­ranean lair of the Seat­tle Krak­en.

Our lair will be a hos­tile venue for oppos­ing teams and will deliv­er the best home ice advan­tage in the league. Our city will show up strong and release their inner beasts for every game. With dynam­ic sight­lines and a steep bowl, our fans will be on top of the ice.

Unique game pre­sen­ta­tion will dimen­sion the Krak­en brand from duel­ing score­boards to a dis­tinc­tive live organ.

On ice imag­ing will tran­si­tion ele­gance to may­hem.

Our music will be craft­ed by KEXP, and ocean fog will flow through the tun­nels as our play­ers take the ice. The sounds of our city and epic tales of the sea will bring the leg­end of the Krak­en to life.

Wel­come home, Seat­tle hock­ey fans.

It is with pride that we will wear the ‘S’ inside of this build­ing from open­ing day to the end of time.

Most of Seat­tle’s oth­er pro sports teams also have ocean themes and they have respond­ed with great enthu­si­asm to the Krak­en roll­out.

The Mariners are the city’s MLB fran­chise, the Sounders its MLS (pre­vi­ous­ly NWSL) fran­chise, and the Sea­hawks its NFL fran­chise. The WNBA’s Storm and the stolen Son­ics fran­chise, on the oth­er hand, have more atmos­pher­ic themes.

The fran­chise point­ed out on its new web­site that Puget Sound is home to a species of octo­pus that’s real­ly big… the biggest in the world.

Empha­sis is theirs: “The largest octo­pus on plan­et Earth lives right here in Puget Sound. The Giant Pacif­ic Octo­pus lurks in the deep around Seat­tle. Accord­ing to Taco­ma leg­end, they inhab­it the ruins of col­lapsed bridge “Gal­lop­ing Ger­tie” with the infa­mous “King Octo­pus.” Nation­al Geo­graph­ic notes the biggest on record at 30 ft wide and over 600 lbs. If you encoun­tered that in the depths of our Sound, you’d tell tales of one thing…You just saw the Krak­en.”

The high­ly antic­i­pat­ed roll­out came at 9 AM Pacif­ic and imme­di­ate­ly caught the atten­tion of the mass media on the oth­er coast and down in Cal­i­for­nia.

It was­n’t long before ESP­N’s top head­line was “Seat­tle Krak­en to take the ice in 2021–22 NHL sea­son”. The New York Times has a sto­ry. So does CBS. And CNN. And The Los Ange­les Times. And The Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

Mean­while, Daniel Sny­der’s NFL own­er­ship group announced that the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. [Amer­i­can] foot­ball team would be known as… the Wash­ing­ton foot­ball team for the 2020 sea­son. Wow… what a name! That’s what I’ve been call­ing the fran­chise for years now. If they had been work­ing on a new name before the George Floyd protests, they’d have been ready to make a change.

They weren’t ready because Sny­der was arro­gant enough to think he could get away with refus­ing to change the old name (which I will not repeat here).

J.J. Regan seized on this tale of two cities theme to write a col­umn for NBC Sports con­trast­ing the two announce­ments (NHL Seat­tle’s and Sny­der’s).

“One team released a cool new name and logo for its fans while Wash­ing­ton’s team kicked the can down the road. It is rea­son­able for Wash­ing­ton not to rush the process of renam­ing what was once a beloved NFL fran­chise, but maybe don’t do it at the exact same time anoth­er pro­fes­sion­al sports team is releas­ing its actu­al name, espe­cial­ly when it’s as awe­some as Seat­tle’s.”

He added:

“Use what­ev­er anal­o­gy you want. This was a home run/touchdown/goal/slam dunk for Seat­tle. You may not like the logo or name all that much and that’s OK. Per­son­al­ly, I think it’s awe­some, but there is no logo, name, design, jer­sey, etc. that will have one hun­dred per­cent approval. If you don’t like it, that’s OK, but the way the entire process was han­dled makes this a huge win for Seat­tle.”

Regan is right that not every NHL Seat­tle fan will be thrilled with the logo, col­ors, and team name. It’s just not pos­si­ble to please every­one. If you ask me, they did a great job. I’m sure the name will grow on those who had their hearts set on Sock­eye or Steel­head or Totems. Krak­en is a com­pelling name. It’s uncon­ven­tion­al and fun. It’s also a name that a sec­tion of the fan base was clam­or­ing for.

That group of fans is undoubt­ed­ly over the moon today.

Krak­en is also a brand of rum, and Seat­tle’s NHL fran­chise has (very log­i­cal­ly) struck a deal with its own­er to share the trade­mark and make the Krak­en brand of rum an offi­cial bev­er­age of the Krak­en fran­chise.

On behalf of NPI, con­grat­u­la­tions to the Krak­en on choos­ing an iden­ti­ty! Best wish­es as you pre­pare for your inau­gur­al sea­son in 2021–2022.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s the best move that the team can make. Pick­ing a pop­u­lar name will help regen­er­ate the enthu­si­asm when the announce­ment came that the area was get­ting a team.
    At the time, it seemed like every­thing was going right in town.

    # by Mike Barer :: July 23rd, 2020 at 7:43 PM
  2. Seat­tle Krak­en is the best name ever!

    # by Johnny C. :: July 28th, 2020 at 12:16 AM

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