NHL: What Should They Name the Seattle Franchise?
The National Hockey League made the decision public back on December 4th, 2018 that there would be a thirty-second team awarded to the city of Seattle, Washington. They are scheduled to commence play in the 2021-22 season. When realignment takes place, the franchise will be in the Pacific Division which, after the Arizona Coyotes transfer to the Central, will create four divisions of eight to go along with the Metropolitan and Atlantic.
They will host games at Seattle Center Arena, an upgraded venue once known as KeyArena. It was where the then-Seattle SuperSonics of the National Basketball Association called home from 1967-78 and 1985-2008 before the team became known as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tod Leiweke, the NHL Seattle CEO mentioned in Dan Rosen’s article that the building will likely open in March or April of 2021 with concerts, then the expansion draft would be circled for June. Long-time Center Ron Francis, who spent twenty-three years with four different clubs was hired to help call the shots on July 18th of last year.
History in Seattle
This is not the first time that the city of Seattle has experienced hockey. In 1915, the Metropolitans played games in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association up until 1924. They racked up five regular-season titles, which included seven playoff appearances. The Mets became the first USA-based team to win the Stanley Cup on March 26th, 1917, dispatching the Montreal Canadiens three games to one. Bernie Morris and Frank Foyston were the protagonists on the Metropolitans Cup-winning side under coach Pete Muldoon. A book came out last year that focused on that championship team, known as “When It Mattered Most.” All four games were played inside the Seattle Ice Arena on 5th and University. It was reduced to rubble in 1963.
The Metropolitans did get back to the championship round two years later, but because of the influenza epidemic in 1919, there was no Stanley Cup Final winner after both the Mets and Montreal Canadiens won two games each and drew once. Seattle faced the Ottawa Senators the next season, but could not replicate the success of three years ago.
Fast-forward to 1992, and a team from the Western Hockey League known as the Seattle Thunderbirds had the privilege of being the tournament hosts. They, along with three other major junior hockey teams that hailed from Canada participated. The Thunderbirds were beaten in the semifinals by the eventual winners, the Kamloops Blazers who also play in the WHL.
Thoughts on the Team Name
Seattle is known as the Emerald City. To keep it simple, I think the Seattle Emeralds is the way to go. From a color standpoint, I heard an ad from a podcast from a gentleman named Paulie Pabst. He noted that gold colors are used in Pittsburgh with their professional teams. Keeping that in mind, it makes sense to stay with some form of a green/blue/turquoise theme like they do with the rest of their professional sports teams.
The NHL seems to embrace tradition, so maybe one of their forty-one regular-season home games could serve as “Metropolitan Night” by using them as a throwback. The original uniforms from the Seattle Metropolitans could be used as their third sweater along with their home and away attire. It would be the red and green one that the 1917 champions wore. This can serve as a way to blend the past and present to connect with fans of all ages. The traditional home and road kits have an emerald diamond with a red background that has patches of the space needle on the shoulders above the numbers on the sleeves. It will look a lot like the Minnesota Wild colors. Additionally, the red and green would serve as the same colors to match the Sonics, should they return to the NBA one day to share the same building.
One thing is for sure, it will be fascinating to hear the supporters replicate the type of atmosphere that is frequently on display with the Sounders of Major League Soccer and the Seahawks of the National Football League. Their rivalries with the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames have a chance to be epic, particularly should playoff encounters occur. If the early success of the Vegas Golden Knights is any indication, the Seattle Emeralds just might be able to compete for championships very soon to add to their distant past.
What do you feel the name of the new Seattle NHL franchise should be? Leave a comment below.
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Works cited: Wikipedia.com (searched: “National Hockey League”, “Seattle Metropolitans”, “1917 Stanley Cup Finals”, “Seattle Ice Arena”, clicked the link that said 1992 Memorial Cup under “Sports competitions in Seattle”), https://www.nhl.com/news/seattle-nhl-expansion-approves-to-be-32nd-team-play-in-2021-22/c-302581450 (article by Dan Rosen), Google search: Emerald