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EDMONTON, AB - A new opponent is lurking in the Pacific Division.
Although it may not surface until the 2021-22 National Hockey League season, the Seattle Kraken is reeling in the hockey world. The NHL's 32nd franchise unveiled their team branding Thursday from the construction site of Climate Pledge Arena, theming their organization around Seattle's status as a port city.
Many members of the Oilers have ties to the franchise or its location. Kailer Yamamoto hails from Washington State and Ethan Bear was a stalwart defender for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League. Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett also served as a senior advisor for the organization before accepting a job with Edmonton.
"I think it's going to be an incredible franchise," Tippett said.
Video: RAW | Tippett 07.23.20
"I love the logo. The jerseys are great-looking jerseys. I'm happy for the people in Seattle. They've got a brand and now they can continue to push that franchise ahead."
Tippett was appointed to the senior advisor role in June 2018 but left in May of 2019 to coach the Oilers. During his time with Seattle, the bench boss focused on building the organization's hockey operations department but was also involved in some of the branding consultations.
"It was interesting to see where it ended up," Tippett said. "I didn't know which way it was going to go. I knew that was one of the names they were looking at."
Coach Tippett's sentiment seemed to have been the consensus in the Oilers locker room. Spokane, WA, product Yamamoto is a fan of the logo and acknowledged how profound the team could be for young hockey players in the area.
Video: RAW | Yamamoto 07.23.20
"For the community of Seattle having an NHL team, I think it's going to be awesome," he said. "A lot of kids in that area are going to look up to those guys and hopefully push themselves to get there one day. It's huge for the community."
Trips to Seattle could become frequent for the Oilers once the Kraken begin playing. Matt Benning has no issues with road trips to Emerald City.
"It's a really exciting town," he said. "It just brings some excitement to the League as a whole new team, similar to what Vegas did a few years ago.
"I think it's a great addition to the NHL."