Raised an avid Chicago Bulls fan in Illinois, I will openly admit that my least favorite thing about living in Seattle is our lack of an NBA team. After six years of residency here, I openly complain at the lack of a professional basketball presence in the city. Sure, I could adopt the Trail Blazers, but Portland isn’t that close and I like to have an explanation for why I like a team if I don’t reside in the same city. After Meyers Leonard went to the Heat (former Fighting Illini during my brief stint at the University of Illinois), I lost my excuse for Trail Blazers fandom—at least by my own rules. I’ve given up hope that the SuperSonics will ever make their return, so the next best thing I have is…hockey.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the sports Seattle already offers. But the faster-paced game of hockey is more aligned in my mind with basketball, and we are expecting our NHL debut the season of 2021-22. I’ve already accepted I will be a fan of this team regardless, that way I can at least fully hop on the bandwagon of one sport in Seattle.
The biggest question surrounding this incoming team still isn’t what, where, when, or why, but who are you going to be? After announcing in 2018 that Seattle would acquire a team, we eagerly awaited the name. However, after several public delays of the announcement and with about a year left, we still have the same question: who exactly are we rooting for?
Nearly two years ago, the organization registered trademarks for 13 different names. These 13 in alphabetical order are:
Cougars, Eagles, Emeralds, Evergreens, Firebirds, Kraken, Rainiers, Renegades, Sea Lions, Seals, Sockeyes, Totems, and Whales.
Most have speculated that Cougars, Rainiers, and Eagles are out, or at the very least less likely, because they are already affiliated to different teams in Washington State.
Of these 13 listed, the most popular tend to be the Kraken, Sockeyes, and Totems, with the most popular being the first two. There has also been growing support for Totems to honor the indigenous people of Washington.
Although the 13 listed seem to be top runners, others have speculated other names that would similarly honor the city as a whole. For a while, I heard coffee-themed names heavily rumored, such as the “Brewers” or “Roasters.” I personally feel like this is unlikely, as coffee is typically tied to Howard Schultz here in Seattle, and he’s typically tied to the reason we don’t have an NBA team anymore.
Despite all the speculation, rumors, and ideas, Seattle is no doubt excited for their NHL team to arrive. Amidst the arguing of which colors the team should don, how much would we be willing to pay for tickets, and will the newly remodeled Key Arena live up to the hype, the biggest question of all remains a mystery: Who will we be rooting for next year when our team hits the ice?