I don’t fit the bill for your average hockey fan. I’m a liberal arts graduate who spends most of my time re-watching Sherlock and reading YA novels. I didn’t like hockey, despite growing up in Minnesota, until a few years ago. With a job at a non-profit, I can’t afford an NHL Network subscription, let along tickets to a live game more than once a year. But I have become completely overwhelmed with excitement over the new Seattle NHL team.
When it was announced, it felt like my team – one I could really get behind. It was in a place I was excited to be moving to and didn’t have the baggage that other teams have. I also love the Wild, but with years of history baked into the franchise that I didn’t know about, it felt hard to call myself a fan. The Seattle team would be a fresh start and my true entry-point into a sport I was beginning to love. Planning would be ramping up just was I arrived in town, so the timing of it was perfect. (Am I a little annoyed to have lived in Seattle for almost two years with no team yet? Yes.)
Then the name debate started. I quickly realized that there were some names I and my other female friends who love the sport wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. Female hockey fans have had to learn how to be discerning. We’ve carved out a place for ourselves in a league that has never made us feel welcome. We name favorite players hoping they won’t be revealed to be misogynistic messes. And while this new NHL franchise feels like a fresh start, the choice of a name could throw it all over the precipice.
Ahead of the much anticipated and much delayed name announcement, here is my definitive ranking of possible names. (These are the 15 names that have registered trademarks in place.)
Let’s start with the name that will make me erase this team from history: 15 – Totems – As well as having a misogynism problem, it’s no surprise that hockey has a racism problem. Recently, when a private group chat that (now former) player Brendan Lepsic was a part of was leaked, the NHL took the basic step of condemning his language and actually calling it misogyny, while also ignoring the racist language used in those messages. Players of color are taunted on ice, both by fans and other players. This attitude makes even die-hard fans reticent to introduce new people to a sport that feels unable to treat BIPOC with respect.
The Totems, being the minor league team in Seattle from 1958 – 1975, was one of the first names that got floated around for this hockey revival. The history of this team does not justify choosing a name that will be used derogatorily towards Indigenous people. Diehard fans of sports teams such as the R*dskins or the Blackhawks like to believe their names show respect to Indigenous people, while at the same time engaging in racist caricatures at games. Choosing the name Totems would give fans an implicit excuse to show their hidden (or not hidden) racist thoughts. Though I am hopeful this name will not be chosen, I know if it was there would be protests and I would be outside with them, not spending money on the team.
14 – Metropolitans – I know there’s history to this name, being the first team from the US to win the Stanley Cup, but let’s be truthful – it’s boring. Seattle is not so metropolitan compared to other cities in the league. I would fall asleep at a Metropolitan s game.
13 – Eagles – I’m allergic to patriotism.
(I would leave it at that, but there are also like 100 other teams called the Eagles, so let’s not.)
12 – Whales – While not a terrible name, and actually relevant to our area, the closeness of the Canucks and the history of the old Hartford Whalers NHL team make this a perplexing name choice.
11 – Emeralds – Seattle may be known as the Emerald City, but to me using a precious gem stone as a team name turns me off. Hockey is not a sport easily accessible for the proletariat. I already mentioned that as a fan I barely get to watch games (with the exception of my darling MN Whitecaps, which stream their games for free) and if you want to play hockey, there’s an extreme money mountain you need to overcome for gear and travel. I wouldn’t be disappointed if this was the name, but nor would I be filled with joy.
With the reveal of Amazon’s Climate Pledge Arena, which heavily features green-washing, the Emeralds gains a point for increased likelihood of being chosen.
10 – Seals – This name moved up and down a few times, before settling here. There is nothing wrong with it. Seals are lovely creatures. It simply doesn’t excite me. It doesn’t have the fierceness I’d want for a hockey team.
9 – Firebirds – I actually love this name a lot. It has a juxtaposition that delights me – a creature of fire & flight skating around on ice. The pitfall comes from its lack of connection to Seattle. Nothing about it makes me think of this town. When trying to find a connection, I discovered that the firebird is a figure from Slavic folklore. While King County’s population comes from all around the world, it’s not known for having Slavic immigrants. I’d rather this name go to a city that can do it justice.
8 – Cougars – Another perfectly wonderful name. I had this up higher on my list until someone reminded me that we already have the Washington State Cougars. Let’s not overcrowd it.
Now on to the good names!
7 – Rainiers – Oh mighty Rainier, it’s always a good day when we can see you in the distance. I’m not a super fan of this name for two reasons. First, the beer. I think there might be a few copyright issues that come up. Second, the history. Mt Rainier’s original name is Tahoma. Rainier comes from Rear Admiral Peter Rainier, the friend of a white explorer. I don’t think we need to add this accolade to his name.
6 – Steelheads – This name fills my two major criteria, connection to Seattle and fierceness. I would love to see an old man on the river as a mascot. More than simply the fish, this name is connected to the sports history of Seattle – there was a West Coast Negro Leagues baseball team called the Seattle Steelheads. If this name was chosen, it would be wonderful to acknowledge this history, perhaps with an exhibit in the arena or inviting the families of former players to games. Unfortunately, this could also be a huge misstep if the previous history of the name is ignored. Its main downfall though comes from how little it excites the community. Most people aren’t overjoyed with a fish taking the center stage.
5 – Sea Lions – I think this could be a really fun name. Sea lions are both playful and strong. It can highlight our connection to the water and I can already see a personality video of players meeting sea lions. One small negative on this could be logo design – a large grey mass isn’t the most interesting to look at.
4 – Sockeyes – Similar to the Steelheads, this is a pretty good name, with an unfortunate fish tie-in. I like it a bit better, because of the pun, but I can almost guarantee it will not be chosen. Romance Novelist Jami Davenport has a series of books on the love lives of the fictional Seattle Sockeyes hockey team and she is unwilling to give up her trademark. You go girl.
3 – Renegades – When I polled my friends on this name idea, I was the only one to have Renegades this high, but I’m keeping it there because it’s my list. I love the idea of going against the system. I believe it could easily tie into the Seattle punk and grunge scenes and I would be excited to support a team with this name. I will add that with the team’s new tie to Amazon, this contain a bit more irony than I can handle.
2 – Evergreens – In case you couldn’t tell by this list, I consider myself a bit of a hippie. I love the idea of our team being trees. Evergreens tops the list of names that tie in with Amazon’s Climate Pledge Arena, which does put a sour taste in my mouth. To be clear, I am overjoyed by the construction of a carbon neutral arena, no fracked “natural” gas, and all of the other wonderful environmental features that are planned. Maybe there could be environmental tie-ins at events, including volunteering opportunities? But the fact of the matter is that this whole thing is a goodwill-buying PR grab by Bezos, whose company is one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis. Amazon has fired organizers who want to hold the company accountable to the climate crisis and Amazon’s emissions continue to grow despite claiming they will be reduced. Bezos may believe naming the stadium Climate Pledge Arena will get concerned people off his back, but he couldn’t be more wrong.
My extreme emotions about Amazon aside, I still love the name Evergreens. I don’t think the team could go with a tree for the mascot, but I would hope they don’t choose a lumber jack either. I would hope for a forest ranger, or, if they really want to go wild, a hermit.
1 – Kraken – You knew it was coming. Say it with me, “Release the Kraken!” How can you pass up this line? If there’s any name that can secure a young fan base, it’s this one. I know the odds are against its selection, but I’ve already promised myself I would be buying Seattle Kraken merch, no matter the official name.
Late breaking edition, I have heard a rumor that Kraken is the official name. But it came from someone who thought Kraken had to do with crabs, so it’s not entirely reliable.
If I had to choose which name I actually think will be picked, I will be placing a very loose bet on the Evergreens or the Steelheads. I don’t have an insight on what the Powers that Be will choose, but I have to hope it’ll be exciting. This team could be a chance to listen to hockey’s wide array of fans, instead of playing it safe with the old (white) standards. I’m looking forward to an announcement, whenever it comes.
Alright, let’s do that hockey.
whatever the worst name is.. kraken is worse
“Allergic to patriotism” … Well not a surprise but good thing it exist so you can ramble your brainwashed opinion without being locked up like you would in those other countries you admire so much!!!
Kraken seems really polarizing: many people love it and the rest hate it with a passion (I’m in the latter group).
I’m curious what you think of my favorite (by miles): buy the trademark for Thunderbirds!
This is needlessly insulting, baseless, and adds nothing to the discussion.
Whales is fatphobic, Cougars is misogynistic, Emeralds is classist, and since it’s well established that us racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe hockey fans can’t help but use any opportunity to crack wise about insensitive topics, Seals really opens you up to seal-clubbing taunts from opposing fans.
Seriously, I’m not surprised a fictional character was the name choice for this person living in la-la land.
Being allergic to patriotism and using Marxist speech is not the way for this site to go.
I think it is important to share perspectives, even if I don’t agree with it or those perspectives are unpopular. Similarly, I appreciate your perspective as well.
Contrary to the early negative comments, I thought this was a fun article and enjoyed getting another perspective on the various team names being thrown around. Thank you for putting this out there.
The bonus of having a fish mascot is the potential for a reverse mermaid costume and I think that in itself would be entertaining. Fish with legs and boxing gloves, definitely rooting for Sockeyes.
Thank you for posting this rational response. I’m particularly peeved the author did indeed mention admiring several other countries where she would be locked up for expressing her opinion about potential names of sports teams. With this much liberal brainwashing about NHL Seattle team names, you’d think we were in a hockey-mad, left-wing country like Canada. SAD!
Thank you for posting this rational, nuanced response. The nasty female author did indeed mention admiring several other countries where she would be locked up for expressing her opinion about potential sports team names. With this much liberal brainwashing about NHL Seattle team names, you’d think we were in a hockey-mad, left-wing country like Canada. SAD!
None of these names sound exciting. I suggest something original: (1) Fighting Coho (2) Silver Salmon (3) Salmon.
Orcas or Killer Whales sound right for Seattle..but might be a rub with Vancouver,
as they use an Orca logo currently
NO WAY AM I RECOGNIZED AS POTENTIAL REVENUE – MEMBER OF FRINGE FANBASE DEMOGRAPHIC GIVES PERSPECTIVE ON WHY AN EXISTING INDUSTRY SHOULD UPEND ITSELF TO SATISFY INDIVIDUAL BELIEFS
So Kraken is the worst possible name. I’m down for those double entendres: Sockeyes or Steelheads. Also remember our XFL team?… The other mythological team name… even if the league survived, that name was our team’s downfall. Let’s not make the same marketing mistake with Kraken.
Just to be clear, my comment of “this is needlessly insulting, baseless, and adds nothing to the discussion” comment was directed at NotYourFaultEh (but could also apply to later comments, too…ugh).
Lily, thanks for writing this, I enjoyed reading your perspective! Ignore the toxic comments. 🙂
Loved Kraken initially. However , thinking about it now we would be the butt of a lot of jokes. Our fans unofficially mocked as the “Krak-heads”. Our stadium called the “Krak-house.”
Kraken is an North Atlantic ocean thing. Just stop already. Has no connection to Seattle, the Pacific Northwest or the west coast.
BIGLY thank you to SeatownRealist. Your comment speaks for the silent majority — us forgotten people who know that the so-called “female kind” truly are a FRINGE FANBASE DEMOGRAPHIC, like you said. Why would someone ask a major sports league to consider the perspectives of a sex that’s only 50% of the population??? Hockey is a sport by MEN for MEN. Women cannot recognize themselves as POTENTIAL REVENUE — that kind of thinking must be stooped at once!
Considering any of the team names listed above, which NHL Seattle has already trademarked, would truly cause the industry to UPEND ITSELF. Makes me wish you and Alejandro were in charge. You’d have had us watching the Stanley Cup last month instead of hiding from this corona hoax. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!!!
Well, the majority of these comments are garbage dumpster fires, but for the rest of us fringe fan base females, this is an excellent article with some great insights! Also, y’all, really, the Giant Pacific Octopus LITERALLY lives in Puget Sound, Kraken is clearly the best name, and perhaps one day you’ll discover empathy and stop bullying women writers! Cheers!
Great article, L
Wow, I really hope this author does not represent most Seattle Hockey fans. First, the author can’t see past her brainwashed “woke” world view to provide anything close to a coherent contribution to this debate. Second, as another commenter pointed out, the “Kraken” has nothing to do with Seattle. Personally, I’m for the “Sockeye”. It has a great double connection to both the tough roots of Hockey and the PNW. Fight on Sockeye!
The irony of an out of Towner telling us that indigenous symbolism has not tie to Seattle is palpable. Totems recognize the northern Pacific tribes. The firebird is a deeply rooted PNW Indian icon. Sockeye and stealhead work BECAUSE of the fish, not in spite of them.
Get on board. I welcome people coming to Seattle and jumping on any local bandwagon. But don’t start shitting on everything you don’t immediately understand the reference to with litterally zero effort.
I said it when the stadium name was announced, and I’ll say it again…the Planeteers.
I think Krakken is the best name, fierce, intimidating, tiesbto the sea, built in slogan, it checks all the boxes for me
I. STAND. WITH. BRUNO. Many people are saying that the author’s “brainwashed ‘woke’ world view” is inconsistent with white male fragility. The ranking truly doesn’t “provide anything close to a coherent contribution to this debate;” it’s almost like it was written in Asian, or, even worse, MEXICAN. Plus only a VERY STABLE GENIUS would know that Kraken has ZERO ties to Seattle. The Giant Pacific Octopus is FAKE NEWS.
Finally, Local. My dear, dear Local. I love your comment more than my good friend Dan Snyder. In fact, if you weren’t a man, perhaps I’d be dating you! Like your deeply intellectual analysis, “indigenous symbolism has not tie to Seattle” is an eloquent, grammatically correct hallmark of your writing. I appreciate you admonishing the public to never listen to an “out of Towner;” they’re like the liberal media, always trying to tell you how to think and feel! Since white settlers were in Seattle LONG BEFORE the Coast Salish people, you, and only white men like you, have the right to “start shitting on everything you don’t immediately understand the reference to.” I too “welcome people coming to Seattle,” unless they’re a woman, especially a woman with whom I disagree!!! It takes “litterally zero effort” to ace a basic spelling test, and you did all that and more with your latest comment. “Litterally” so glad you displayed your way with words to the world.
They should be called the Icemen — then we can say, along with the ghost of Eugene O’Neil: “The Iceman Cometh”!!
I am sorry that you really have no clue. Seals was previously used in the Bay Area. Totems is relative to the NW and hockey, (previous rivals Totems vs Cunucks.) And by the way totem is a word that is now generic but has its roots in the Obijani culture by Lake Superior.
I didn’t know that about the Seals, thanks for letting me know. I am aware of the Seattle hockey history associated with the Totems. Their logo is more closely connected with totem poles, which are endemic to Indigenous people in the Alaska area and associated with Seattle because white explorers stole the poles and brought them to the area. Also no concept connected with an Indigenous person’s spiritual beliefs should be considered generic – and it’s Ojibwe.
Lily – thanks for a fun well written article; I’ve been team kraken from Day 1.
Why does everything have to be tied to politics. The reason everyone watches hockey in the first place is to get away from all the bs. If you are offended by any of those names listed then hockey probably isn’t for you and you should probably check yourself into a mental institution.
It seems like these comments are in desperate need of some moderation. Both Lily and the average reader of this blog deserve better than all these off-topic insults.
Just dribble, can’t believe people get paid to write this stuff. No wonder journalism is dead.
We need a plural name. The Kraken is so childish
As a lifelong member of the proletariat, the idea that any kind of gem being a team name is insulting to us is laughable. Toughen up.
I swear, a lot of you largely privileged liberals get offended so easily. There’s not much chance very many of you could live the life of the actual proletariat. Life is hard enough without being so oversensitive about class.
The Emerald Queens. Good tie in with the casino.
I would suggest Jaguar. Not Jaguars, just the singular Jaguar. Like the kind that runs over woke, white guilt laden idiots like the author.
I would suggest Jaguar. Not Jaguars, just the singular Jaguar. Like the kind that runs over woke, white guilt laden idiots like the author.
You forgot what is easily the best name suggestion, the Rain City Bitch Pigeons
It’s a hockey team name. Why are we making such a big deal about it (both in this overwritten and smug article and predictively reactionary comments)? Also, Kraken is a terrible name.
Kraken is worse than terrible.
After initial giddy-ness wears off, we will be stuck with the name, forever.
It’s the ‘forever’ part that makes this discussion so important.
I will wear Thunderbird or Totems gear, but never a team logo that has no good connection to
Seattle, or Seattle Hockey
“Hockey not Polotics,” I’m sure the author appreciates your suggestion to check into a mental institution, with your great spelling and all. You probably stopped watching NFL games after Colin Kaepernick first took a knee, huh?
Zeek, I’m sure you’d be pleased to know that the author likely wrote this piece for no pay — simply to contribute to a fun discussion in the community, of which you play such a deeply intellectual part.
Notimportant, the fact you don’t have much money yourself qualifies you to speak for the entire working class. The author must indeed be privileged, given that she mentions working at a non-profit.
Sam Rastus Schultz/Norman Desmond, I’m glad you made up alter egos to hide your identity alongside your most exquisite analysis. I’m sure your family and friends would be overjoyed to see you wish death on a young woman who dares speak her mind!
Aaron Wilson, I’m glad you proved the unnecessary nature of this piece by taking the time to leave a comment. Good on you for calling the author’s work overwritten and smug, that’s definitely not a classic misogynist trope!
In all seriousness, if anyone else wants to hide behind a computer screen and take mind-numbing pot shots at women trying to enjoy a hyper-masculine sport, I suggest you reflect on your behavior before rage posting next time someone with a different life experience than you dares exist in what you consider to be your sacred online space.
Misogyny Not Required- I will gladly say anything I have to say to literally any one of your faces. I don’t hide behind a damn thing.
I grew up in a rowhome in the kind of neighborhood that doesn’t exist in your gentrified ass city. People like me can’t afford to live in places like Seattle probably ever, so yeah I’d say she’s definitely a lot more privileged than me.
The life of the actual proletariat is hard. Nobody who gets offended by references to expensive things or by what I said would last very long living that life.
I’m sorry if you don’t like it. Toughen up.
notimportant – Thank you for sharing your experience, and I’m sorry to hear you had a difficult upbringing. My response was meant to recognize that the author can both be working class like you and have a different perspective. Seattle is indeed very gentrified — if you visited, you’d notice that South Seattle and North Seattle almost feel like two different cities, with parts of the south side actually having row homes like you describe. Income inequality is a defining issue of our time, and one that we can all recognize even if we have different takes on how best to handle its nuance.
Again, thank you for sharing part of your story. My initial response to you was definitely pointed, but it was simply meant to recognize that the author’s perspective is as valid as any of ours and should not be discounted. I hope we can all agree to cheer on Seattle’s NHL Team, whatever it ends up being called!
All the Best.