This week, we were introduced to the Seattle Kraken – the 32nd NHL Franchise – which begin play one year from October.
So let’s get all the jokes and dissention out of the way now: That the arena could be called the Krak House. That fans could be called Krak Heads. That the Kraken’s origins have more to do with Norse mythology than the explanation that it’s akin to the real-life Giant Pacific Octopus that actually does lurk in waters around our area.
Go for it. Say it. Scream it. Post it. Do what you have to so we can get it out of our systems, and start focusing on how ridiculously cool this thing can actually be.
That logo is freaking fantastic. The secondary logo with the Space Needle shape? Outstanding. Put the two together, as some have done – and you might have the best design in all of professional sports.
Tell me that seeing that “S” on the jerseys – and yes I’m saying jerseys and not sweater, sue me for not being a traditionalist – isn’t a wonderful tribute to the Seattle Metropolitans, who won a Stanley Cup in 1917, and also wore an “S.” Local hockey history is being celebrated in the New Era version of this franchise.
Yes, Kraken WAS the most polarizing option. Admittedly, I was lukewarm on the name. But that was before Thursday’s rollout and having a chance to see what this thing has the potential to be.
“The game presentation we can have with this brand: You don’t see it. But you know it’s there. And it scares the Bejezzus out of you,” said team president and CEO Tod Leiweke.
He’s right: You don’t see the entire beast with all its tentacles – but it’s there. And imagine being inside a loud, darkened arena during introductions when something like this is played – WITH Kraken visuals.
As Leiweke says, this franchise listened to the fans. The fans said the Kraken wasn’t a cartoon character, which clearly didn’t work with the launch of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks or the Toronto Raptors. Ursula from The Little Mermaid or Mr. Cartoon Octopus is not what this team is about.
Forget the unfortunate fate of the XFL, which clearly folded because of the pandemic. If a mythological dragon – which was rolled out in a very similar fashion by the XFL, as you can see by their video here – can spur close to 30,000 rabid fans to a season opener, imagine how much passion we’ll see behind an NHL franchise being built with the fans in mind – and one that already has 40,000 fans on their season ticket wait list!
Said Leiweke: “A good friend of mine – (Kraken) wasn’t her choice. She wrote me and I said, 'Listen: This brand loves you, you’ve gotta love it back. And we do love our fans. And even fans where it’s not their favorite, they’ll know that this is a brand that loves them back, and they will eventually come around.”
Remember, without any fan input, the Sounders name wouldn’t still exist as an MLS franchise. Leiweke and company listened to the fans as they launched their Major League Soccer version of the team – and they’re listening now.
Frankly, every team name would have been open to some form of scrutiny. In this case, the haters will immediately latch onto the first few things I addressed. But in the end, quality of product wins out – in game presentation and play on the ice. And everything we’ve seen so far has indicated that quality is top priority.
So rip “The Kraken” if you like. But this week was so much more about a name. It was about the entire package – the look, the feel, the colors, the logo, the history, the excitement.
And you don’t believe me now, I’m really not worried. You’ve got about 15 months to come around.