After two years of feverish speculation, the NHL’s newest franchise has a name, a logo and a uniform. The Seattle Kraken are now official thanks to a launch in the bones of Climate Pledge Arena, where CEO Tod Leiweke presided over festivities attended by masked and socially-distanced construction workers.
As Leiweke noted in his address, the franchise wanted to listen to its fans and in choosing the Kraken moniker, he felt they accomplished that goal.
“We’ve spent two years listening,” Leiweke said. “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.”
The Kraken, for the uninitiated, is a sea monster (think giant octopus or squid), which naturally works perfectly for a city steeped in maritime history and located next to the deep waters of Puget Sound. The name had been bandied about on social media for quite some time and had many supporters, though some may have been doing so tongue-in-cheek thanks to a meme featuring Liam Neeson bellowing “Release the Kraken!” in the B-movie Clash of the Titans.
“We wanted the name to connect to the powerful pull of nature here in the Pacific Northwest and resonate with the fervor for hockey in our city and region,” Leiweke said. “And I promise we are going to deliver the most compelling, entertaining and unifying game experience for every fan who enters Climate Pledge Arena.”
The name polled well amongst fans and ultimately beat out more traditional names such as the Metropolitans (which would have been confusing due to the Metropolitan Division) and Totems. And the crest is a sharp one.
“Like our city,” said VP of marketing Heidi Dettmer, “Our logo is carved from the sea.”
The Kraken’s primary logo is a stylized ‘S’ which features a tentacle in the negative space, bevelling to signify the city’s maritime history and a menacing red eye. Keeping the mystery of the Kraken itself was important to the team. Going with a big ‘S’ as the crest also makes a nod to the old Seattle Metropolitans, the first-ever American team to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917.
Perhaps most intriguing about the uniform is the fact the dark version does not feature any white whatsoever; instead, the deep blue base is accented by several other shades, including a very pale “ice blue.” Seattle’s shoulder logo is an anchor fused with the Space Needle, the local landmark.
While many folks have wondered why Seattle didn’t include green in its color scheme – like the NFL’s Seahawks, WNBA’s Storm and soccer’s Sounders – I had been told right at the start of the expansion process that the hockey team would not go with green because it is also used by Vancouver and the Canucks were seen as the expansion team’s natural geographic rival (sure, the Canucks use blue as well, but that’s a much more common color in the NHL than green).
With the closely-guarded name now revealed, the real marketing blitz can begin. The franchise is kicking things off in a charitable mood by offering ‘Release the Kraken’ merchandise, with all the proceeds going to organizations such as YouthCare, which tackles homelessness amongst young people in Seattle.
Given how well Vegas rolled out everything when the Golden Knights entered the league, Seattle certainly had a high bar to meet, but the name is fun and the uniforms are incredibly sharp (score one for Adidas, which prior to this had muffed most of their NHL designs). The team can now continue to focus on the hockey side of things, such as building up the hockey ops department and preparing for an expansion draft and entry draft.
The Kraken will officially join the NHL on the ice for the 2021-22 season.