TORONTO -- Seattle general manager Ron Francis said he hopes the NHL expansion team will announce its name in the first quarter or first half of next year.
"I think we're getting close," Francis said at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference on Tuesday. "But there's also the process of going through and making sure it's trademarked correctly so [there are] not any issues there. So that takes a little while to go through that as well."
Asked if Seattle had a top choice for name, Francis said: "They have a few selections left, and it's a question of trying to come up with a logo to match the names and see what everybody's comfortable with. And once they get to that point, then they'll trademark it and make sure we're protected."
Seattle was down to five names as of Oct. 21, when the team placed the finalists in an envelope in a time capsule at the Space Needle. The team will begin play in 2021-22. The capsule will be opened on the 100th birthday of the Space Needle on April 21, 2062.
The name announcement is heavily anticipated.
How much interest is there in the NHL in Seattle?
The Oak View Group, the company leading the reconstruction of the former KeyArena, opened an online portal to take season-ticket deposits March 1, 2018. The company reached its goal of 10,000 in 12 minutes and stopped at 32,000 in 31 hours, even though the computers struggled to keep up.
When the NHL awarded Seattle the expansion franchise Dec. 4, 2018, the waiting list was 10,000.
"It's my understanding there's another list of 30,000 that want to get on that list of 32,000," Francis said. So, I think Tod and his staff are looking at a lot of different ways to make as many people happy as possible.
"I'm not sure if they have a final decision on what they want to do there, but they're certainly looking at a lot of options."