NHL Seattle released a statement Wednesday saying “no announcement is imminent” on a team nickname after a hockey blogger told Sirius XM radio that “Kraken” appears to be the choice.
The team did not rule out “Kraken” as a potential choice and offered no further comment. In prior discussions, the team indicated it had postponed a naming decision until March due to further research on potential trademark issues insisted upon by the NHL.
“At NHL Seattle, we are thrilled by the growing excitement about our team — and we can’t wait to share every detail with our fans,” the statement said. “However, we will not be commenting on any rumors. Please check our social channels for more updates.”
The team then tweeted a comment filled with playful fish and sea references. “Kraken” references a fictitious sea monster.
“While we’re aware of some fishy rumors surrounding our team name,” the tweet reads, “please rest assured we’re doing our due diligence by scouring the depths of the ocean, the tallest mountains, and the densest parts of the forest to find the right name for our great, green city.”
Hockey blogger John Hoven of mayorsmanor.com said on air Wednesday that: “From everything I’ve seen and heard, it looks like Kraken is going to be the name. Which is quite surprising, actually, when I was given that information just a few days ago. I was a little bit in shock, personally, just because we had been told previously that it was not the name they were going for.”
Hoven went on to suggest he’d been told by a team source that the franchise had been leaning toward “Sockeyes” as a name, but he added that was nixed because of possible legal issues. Romance novel writer Jami Davenport of Shelton has a Seattle Sockeyes book series.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Davenport told The Seattle Times she has only a book-related trademark for the name, but nonetheless had her lawyer write the team a year ago inviting officials to discuss the issue. She filed for the Seattle Sockeyes trademark Dec. 21, 2017, two weeks after the group that became NHL Seattle was given permission by the league to apply for an expansion team, which was awarded a year later.
“He (Davenport’s lawyer) let them know that I was willing to work with them,” she said. “And we haven’t heard a thing.”
Davenport said she doesn’t like talking about the issue in public because of the undue attention it brings. But as a hockey fan, she has a deposit on NHL Seattle season tickets and wants the team to do well.
“I don’t like people thinking I’m the holdup here, because I’m not,” she said.
Three years ago, when the Vegas Golden Knights named their expansion team, the league and franchise believed all trademark issues had been properly researched. But the U.S. Army then disputed the NHL team’s trademark application, stating the name and team colors had belonged to its competitive parachute squad that had used “Golden Knights” as a nickname since 1960.
The dispute wasn’t resolved until July 2018, when both sides agreed to keep using the name and colors.
Of all the team names debated in public by NHL Seattle fans, Kraken has appeared to be the most polarizing. While appealing to a certain segment of fans, especially online, others have ridiculed it and claimed it has nothing to do with Seattle or the Northwest.
Hoven also said in the story that he’s been told the team will use red, black and “teal-ish color” as its brand colors, which have been seen in marketing materials since the NHL awarded the franchise to Seattle in December 2018. The team is scheduled to begin play in the 2021-22 season.
NHL Seattle officials for months had strongly hinted they felt Kraken was too gimmicky to be used as a name for a major sports franchise. They at one point suggested it might be looked at for a secondary team such as their American Hockey League franchise in Palm Springs, Calif., given its popularity with some segments of fans.
Wednesday’s refusal by the team to rule Kraken out suggests some of that thinking might have changed. NHL Seattle co-owner and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer has used a Kraken sea creature in his “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and it’s been suggested previously he could benefit from crossover tie-ins with the film.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, in response to NHL Seattle’s statement on Twitter, tweeted a clip from 2010 movie “Clash of the Titans” that has the caption “Release the Kraken!”