After years of speculation, NHL Seattle seems poised to finally announce a team name.
Though no one from the team will officially confirm anything, the team said a 9 a.m. livestreamed news conference scheduled for Thursday is for a “significant” event. The team announced the news conference on its Twitter feed, stating it’s when “the 32nd franchise will come to life.”
Other than hiring a head coach — which likely won’t happen at least until after the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs that begin next week — the name is the biggest event looming on the team’s to-do list. The team is set to open play at a revamped Climate Pledge Arena — formerly KeyArena — in October 2021.
NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, has previously said the team would also likely announce its logo and uniform colors at the same time the name is unveiled. Worth noting on that front will be whether the team sticks with typical blue and green Seattle colors or goes in a completely different direction such as red and white.
Five weeks ago, Leiweke said in an interview the team had done logo work on several potential names and had been navigating complex trademarking issues on all of them.
“If you do just one (name), then you’ve left yourself hostage to any sort of challenge,” he said. “So we’ve had to do multiple (trade)marks, and that’s about where we are.”
He added at the time that the ongoing pandemic and police-brutality protests made it unlikely the team will make any major announcements in the near term. But with professional soccer’s relaunch in recent weeks and Major League Baseball about to open its abbreviated schedule, the team’s thinking on timing appears to have changed.
Speculation about the name has run rampant since even before the franchise was officially awarded in December 2018.
Among the more controversial names, “Kraken” has generated some of the biggest online buzz among fans both loving and hating it. The fictitious sea creature, used in some of NHL Seattle team owner Jerry Bruckheimer’s movies, doesn’t quite fit the franchise’s regional representation efforts when it comes to a name — even though this is a coastal state and we do have squid, octopus and other similar sea animals living in the adjacent ocean.
Seattle Times readers chose the name “Sockeyes” in a weeks-long polling contest two years ago.