NHL Seattle responds after report that team will be named Seattle Kraken

Jan 29, 2020, 2:01 PM | Updated: 5:30 pm
NHL Seattle GM Ron Francis...
General manager Ron Francis' NHL Seattle team has yet to be named. (AP)

We may have a break in the case of the NHL Seattle team name. Then again, we may not.

Previously: NHL Seattle reveals new website with interesting color scheme

In an interview on Sirius XM’s NHL Network Radio, it was reported that Seattle Kraken will be the name by John Hoven, editor of Mayors Manor, a website that covers the Los Angeles Kings. NHL Seattle responded Wednesday afternoon and made no indication whether the rumor is correct, however.

First, here’s what Hoven said, according to Russian Machine Never Breaks, a website that covers the Washington Capitals: “From everything that I’ve heard, it looks like Seattle Kraken is going to be the name. … I was a little bit in shock personally, just because we had been told several times previously that that was not the name that they were going for.”

In response to a request for comment from hockey reporter Andy Eide, who covers the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds for, NHL Seattle responded Wednesday afternoon with an official statement that said it “will not be commenting on any rumors.”

NHL Seattle’s official Twitter account also chimed in Wednesday afternoon, adding confusion to the story with a post that made vague references to several nicknames that have been rumored to be in consideration but making no definitive statement on what direction the club may be leaning.

Kraken has been a bit of an underdog in the conversation about potential names, with Seattle Sockeyes seeming to be the favorite to be chosen. Hoven said the potential of a legal issue with an author who has written a series of romance novels featuring a fictional Seattle Sockeyes team could be why NHL Seattle would go another direction.

“That just then creates one of those legal issues that the NHL tends to try to shy away from, trying to secure the rights and that sort of stuff,” Hoven said. “It’s one of the reasons why they’ve been so reluctant to use names of the past teams and things like that.”

That author, Jami Davenport, spoke to 710 ESPN Seattle in January 2018 about the possibility of Sockeyes becoming the NHL Seattle team name after she filed for a trademark of the name.

“I’d love for Seattle to get an NHL team … and I have built this brand around the Seattle Sockeyes over the last three or four years,” Davenport said. “I got a logo, t-shirts, jerseys. I make a good amount of money off it, and I know how closely the NHL guards its own brand and its trademarks.

“I’m not trying to profit off this or stop anybody from using that name, I’m just trying to protect my business.”

The NHL awarded an expansion franchise to Seattle in December 2018, and there have been rumors ever since about what nicknames would be given to the team. NHL Seattle’s parent company, the Oak View Group, reportedly filed trademarks on 13 potential names in January 2018.

There have been several changes in direction when it comes to the timing of an announcement of the team name. NHL Seattle president Tod Leiweke told 710 ESPN Seattle in December 2018 – before the league had held its official vote on expansion – that he expected the name to come in spring 2019, but that didn’t happen. There were also reports and comments suggesting the name would come before or during the 2020 NHL All-Star break, which passed by last weekend.

If Kraken does prove to the team’s name, the club appears to be getting a famous new fan known for wearing hockey jerseys: Kevin Smith, director of movies like “Clerks,” “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and “Mallrats.”

Whatever the NHL Seattle team is called, it will start play in fall 2021, calling a new arena currently being constructed under the iconic roof of the former KeyArena and Seattle Coliseum at Seattle Center its home.

Follow’s Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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