The wait is over. The 32nd franchise in the National Hockey League will be known as the Seattle Kraken.
Standing in front of a physically-distanced, masked-up shift of nearly 300 Climate Pledge Arena construction workers Thursday morning, Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke unveiled the team name. His enthusiastic proclamation ended nearly 20 months of widespread speculation about the choice since Seattle was awarded an NHL expansion franchise in December 2018.
"It's only right and proper to announce the Kraken name, mark and colors here with the men and women working so hard and meeting every challenge to build our new home," confided Leiweke moments before stepping to the microphone. "We were intentional every step of the way making this decision. We listened to our fans, thousands of them face-to-face and tens of thousands more on social media. We were determined to align with who we are as an organization and as a city and region. We think we got it right, the perfect fit."
Moments later at 9 a.m. Thursday, Mortenson Construction general superintendent Jopy Willis introduced Leiweke, telling the work crew "the team's leaders wanted you to hear the name first in this bowl." Leiweke greeted and thanked the audience of laborers, ironworkers, engineers, project managers and support crew inside Climate Pledge Arena: "We are forever indebted to each and every one of you. Millions of people will watch us today. It's a moment we'll never forget."
Video: Kraken are Real
Leiweke next queued up an audio track for the arena workers public-address system and a video for fans tuning into a livestream airing on NHL.com/Seattle plus simulcasts on a King-5 TV news special and KJR 950-AM sports radio iHeartRadio affiliates throughout Washington.
The audio and video revealed that Kraken is the team's name and conjured odes to our yester-world arrival as a vital shipping port, the winding Salish coast, our roaring sea, mountains, the Seattle skyline and even an Alaskan fishing village as a stick tap to local fishing boats traveling to the Kraken-territory state for the summer moneymaking season. Most of all, what jumps out is the dual turbine power of both the name-say with us, KRA-ken-and the deep, rumbling Puget Sound waters. Visiting teams beware.
As the audio and video played, three members of the construction crew were unfurling a 50-foot-long by 30-foot wide banner to reveal the Kraken's unique "S" that will be appear on player jerseys, fan t-shirts and hats, and, well, all sorts of merchandise and swag that is now available at www.ReleaseTheKrakenStore.com with net proceeds of sales going to local nonprofit YouthCare to support young adults facing housing instability and homelessness, as well as community-based organizations serving BIPOC youth and families.
This first line of team apparel will feature a rally cry of "Release the Kraken" with the "s" in "Release" replaced with the Kraken logo.
Travis Mellon operated the crane to roll down the banner while two Mortenson co-workers, Robert Clark and Kenny Knutson, each steered lower corners of the gigantic and stunning backdrop behind Leiweke and other speakers on stage. The crowd of workers, the Kraken's local executive ownership committee and invited team partner special guests was clearly wowed.
Heidi Dettmer, the Kraken's vice president of marketing, stepped to the Climate Pledge Arena podium, to talk a bit about the name, logo and colors. "Hockey has always been here. A sleeping giant ready to be awoken. This city deserves a hockey club as untamed as the sea herself and when we heard the rallying cry of the fans and their undeniable passion for this name, we knew this was the one."
Dettmer arguably drew the biggest applause and crowd reaction of the morning when she announced that all workers would be receiving new construction vests with the team name or "word mark" during the workday, handed out in safety-conscious small groups. Workers will also be getting the all-important helmet sticker adorned with the "S" logo.
Kyle Boyd, the team's director of youth and community development, was next at the dais to speak about the sport of hockey and specifically, his passion to share the game's allure with everyone in the arena and watching on the livestream. He talked about his first time on skates when he was conscious of the power and glide and control-that he could move with speed and purpose. He explained he wants kids to have the opportunity to enjoy that skill, and adults too, all are welcome. Boyd promised the Kraken would always be a community-first organization while still focusing on bringing the Stanley Cup back to Seattle, repeating the feat of the 1917 Seattle Metropolitans.
Leiweke finished the proceedings by making an emotional connection between the construction crew and the future hockey team those workers are building day by day, beam by beam, concrete pour by concrete pour: "I want to thank the team here in Climate Pledge Arena," Leiweke said. "You meet every challenge, you're ready for the next thing, you never back down. The Kraken will never back down either. That's a promise we will keep."