VANCOUVER -- The newest NHL franchise will be called the Seattle Kraken, the team announced Thursday.

Hockey fans learned the name and got a first look at the team's logo during a news conference from the Washington city.

The league's 32nd franchise drew inspiration from its location on the Pacific Ocean in choosing the mythological creature featured in Scandinavian folklore.

The kraken is often portrayed as a giant octopus-like creature. Seattle's "S" logo features a red eye and a tentacle reaching up from the bottom.

"Seattle is a city built by the sea, and our Puget Sound is notorious for its deep waters," the team's vice-president of marketing, Heidi Dettmer, said to a small, physically-distanced crowd.

She said she grew up hearing tales of "beasts in the deep," and that the largest octopus on earth lives in the waters off Seattle's coast.

Kids in the area heard a legend of the "king octopus" under Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

"I can't help but think that these magnificent and highly intelligent creatures could only be descended from one thing," she said, looking up at a newly unfurled Kraken banner behind her.

Dettmer said hockey has always been in Seattle, "a sleeping giant waiting to be awoken. And this city deserves a hockey club as untamed as the sea herself."

She said the new franchise heard support from fans for the name, and that that was a factor in the decision.

The logo is meant to honour the city and the legendary creature, and the "S" is a nod to the jersey worn by the previous team, the Seattle Metropolitans.

The pro team played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915 to 1924, and took home the Stanley Cup in 1917.

That team's logo was a red "S" with "Seattle" spelled out inside the letter.

The new design uses two shades of blue to represent the region's maritime history, Dettmer said, and the "fierce" eye is meant to represent the tenacity of the team slated to hit the ice in time for the 2021-22 NHL season.

She suggested there may be further logos or branding in the future: "Perhaps the most intriguing part is what you don't see. This is a brand that will grow with its city. The kraken is a mysterious beast and will continue to reveal itself over time."

The team's majority owner wasn't at the news conference, but a statement was read on his behalf.

"It's time to release the kraken," David Bonderman said.

Fans have been speculating for over a year on what the team would be called.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman first confirmed the franchise back in December 2018, following unanimous approval from the league's board of governors.

Seattle's ownership group, which includes Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer, paid US$650 million to join the league.

It was initially hoped that the team would start playing in the 2020-21 season, but the NHL was concerned the arena the team will play in would not be ready.

Thursday's announcement was given from that arena, which is still under construction.

With files from The Canadian Press


Seattle Kraken logo