Five Potential Team Names for a New Seattle NHL Franchise

Despite already having a junior hockey team with the same monicker, many fans like 'Thunderbirds' as a team name for a new NHL franchise in Seattle  (Shoot the Breeze Photography)

Despite already having a junior hockey team with the same monicker, many fans like ‘Thunderbirds’ as a team name for a new NHL franchise in Seattle (Shoot the Breeze Photography)

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration — Thomas Alva Edison

Mr. Light Bulb’s insight was certainly valid with respect to most applications, but when it comes to sports team names, he had it exactly backwards. Inspiration, not bodily fluid, is what it takes to coin a truly good sports team monicker.

The NHL to Seattle

If you put your ear to the ground, you can hear the footsteps of the NHL moving relentlessly toward the Emerald City. It may not be next year, or even the year after that, but sometime soon, the NHL will make its way to the Puget Sound. There are too many powerful people behind the scenes, too much arena momentum, and most of all, far too much money involved for it not to happen.

As I wrote when the Phoenix Coyotes situation was up in the air, Seattle is now solidly an NHL ‘Plan B’ for a troubled franchise seeking a new home. Furthermore, as first reported by 950 KJR’s Mitch Levy, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman may be quietly urging the NHL board of governors to award the city an NHL franchise for the 2014-15 season.

Potential team names from history

When Seattle won the Stanley Cup in 1917, it was with guys named Cully leading the way (Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

When Seattle won the Stanley Cup in 1917, it was with guys named Cully leading the way (Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

Seattle’s hockey history dates back approximately 100 years to the Pacific Coast Hockey Association’s Seattle Metropolitans, who won the Stanley Cup in 1917 by defeating the Montreal Canadians. The team name has retro-cool cache as a result, and per this poll, edged out all other contenders.

There are plenty of choices from Seattle’s hockey history as well: the Bombers, the Eskimos, the Sea Hawks, the Ironmen, and the Americans, to name just a few. If history isn’t your thing, there are other options that fit the area’s local millieu: the Sasquatch, the Rain, the Cappuccino, or to honor allergy sufferers everywhere, the Sneeze. Imagine the latter in an overtime play-by-play broadcast call: Tsyplakov to Murray, over to Johnson, who shoots … he scores! Sneeze win! Sneeze win!

The top five team names for a Seattle franchise

With that said, we’ve got to narrow things down to a manageable list of contenders. After all, a top five list just isn’t the same without an actual subset of five name from which to consider, is it? Thus, the following are five of the top potential team names for a new Seattle franchise:

Seattle Metropolitans. As mentioned above, the Mets were a championship-caliber early 1900’s area franchise. The 100-year old team name may not commemorate Bigfoot or the region’s rather pervasive meteorological traits, but for a bevy of tech-savvy denizens perpetually hopped up on caffeine, there’s something about Metropolitans that just works.

Seattle Totems. Between 1958 and 1975, the Totems were a professional Western Hockey League franchise. Although the name would pay dual homage to the region’s strong native American influence as well as the former long-running Seattle franchise, in a battle between a shark and a totem pole, my money is on the shark, every time. Furthermore, the mascot would have one of the most uncomfortable costumes in all of sports. One wrong step, and it’s timmmmmmberrr!

Seattle Thunderbirds. In the aforementioned poll, 20% of the voters chose this monicker, which would make things awfully confusing for local sports broadcasters, since the Seattle Thunderbirds are an already-existing local junior hockey team.

Seattle Sockeyes. Well, we are known for our fish. Nevertheless, I’m still putting money on the shark.

Seattle Orcas. Finally, something that can give the shark a run for its money. Although Metropolitans remains the front-runner and is the most logical choice for a Seattle hockey team name, it’s hard to go wrong with the ocean’s alpha predator.

The fans speak

Although there is a certain poignancy to naming a new team after a previous one in the city’s history (especially one with some success, like the Metropolitans), the list of potential options is virtually limitless. What do you think would make for a good team name for a new Seattle franchise?

Walter McLaughlin

Walter McLaughlin

Walter McLaughlin is a Los Angeles Kings correspondent for The Hockey Writers. He is an avid sports fan, having followed the Kings since living in L.A. in the mid-1970's, as well as suffering through Seattle sports teams' general futility. He has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and has worked in community banking for over 20 years, specializing in SBA loans. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife of 25 years and two daughters.
Walter McLaughlin

35 Comments

  1. Definitely Seattle Steelheads. Like a previous poster mentioned. Washington state fish. Also symbolic of working class. Stealth is decent as well.

  2. When a name works on as many levels as possible, that’s a perfect name for a new team. With that in mind:

    Seattle Sound.

    Rolls off the tongue. Works for the area “Puget Sound”, gives homage to local reasons in recent time (the Seattle music scene), and is close-but-not-exact to give a compatible name when it comes in- when the NBA comes back, “Sound” and “Sonics” will mesh perfectly.

  3. seattle sasquatch sounds great .very catchy and unique …

  4. MICRO-SOFTIES

  5. Does anyone remember that the Thunderbirds used to be called the Seattle Breakers for a while? Like surf breaking on the shore? Tough, Seattle/NW related name that has some history here.

  6. The only thing that would sway me away from the Seattle “Metropolitans” would be that there is now a division called the Metropolitan division. Kind of an awkward juxtaposition if you ask me.

  7. Seattle Samsquatches

  8. The above comment is no surprise coming from Austin as he is a die-hard Canucks fan soooo….anyways yeah I agree Orcas would kind of be lame since the Canucks jerseys feature an Orca whale…it would be like a new California team popping up and calling themselves the “Hammerheads”, “Mallards” or “Rulers” lol

    I personally really like the Seattle Shield…has a really nice ring to it, right now it’s a very big buzz word for many reasons like the Marvel TV show “Agents of Shield” then you have the WWE’s “The Shield” which is a trio of the company’s biggest up and coming talents and also Captain America is big right now with his patriotic weapon of choice the “shield” made of vibranium. Anyways, I think the owners could do a lot of cool things with that nickname and there’s not another major sports franchise in North America using that moniker…would be something unique on it’s own and something I think the city could really get behind..easy for kids to relate too as well which should play a part in it. The article’s suggestions, while being just that, suggestions, don’t sound very exciting to me. Anyways, it’s getting people talking about an NHL team in Seattle which I fully support…oh and another thing if it’s decided the WHL franchise would dissolve w/ an NHL franchise coming into talent, the team “should” be named “Thunderbirds” as homage

  9. Seattle Totems!

    I am biased, though! My father suggested the name back in 1958 and that was the name of the team until 1975! Also, the Totems name is synonymous with professional hockey in Seattle!

  10. Seattle Ice Pirates would be a cool name.

  11. Seattle Rain
    Emerald City Rain

  12. i would like to recommend : Seattle Stevedores; this would give homage to our port & the hard working people who would buy tickets for Hockey as well as soothe their feelings about putting an arena in their backyard. it also, roles off the tongue.

  13. Curtis Joseph says:

    There are only a few names I’d like NHL to dub a Seattle team:

    1.) Seattle Stallions

    2.) Seattle Stealth

    3.) Seattle Shield

    4.) Seattle Command/Elite

    5.) Seattle Thunder

  14. Tacoma’s now defunct single-A team, that won virtually every division title, was the Sabercats.

    I do like Seattle Tsunami, though.

  15. Seattle Steelheads. Steelhead is the state fish of Washington.

  16. I love Seattle, since the state fish of Washington is the Steelhead, I thought that would be a tough, cool name for an NHL team. Seattle Steelheads

  17. Would love to see white jerseys with neon green and gray stripes for away, and gray jerseys with white and neon green for home. kinda stays within the theme and colors of Seattle teams, but wont copy from the Canucks colors. Thoughts?

  18. I think Seattle emeralds. such a unique name for the emerald city.

  19. Seattle Tsunami

  20. Seattle Emeralds

    I have always thought that “The Emeralds” would be a very classy and suitable name for a Seattle Sports team. I think it fits.

  21. Should be the totems

  22. The Metropolitans is such a unique name that it reminds me too much of the NY Mets. The Totems combine hockey history with a local flavor that would not be too gimmicky.

  23. Seattle Slew

  24. I think using fish as a mascot for hockey is pretty lame (yep, even the Sharks).
    And although I am a big fan of celebrating the hockey history of Seattle, I think the Metropolitans is pretty lame as well. For one thing, Seattle is about the least “metropolitan” city in the US (for it’s size and prominence). But as much as it has been thrown around, it is starting to grow on me (they better be killer uniforms if they they go this route).
    Bombers, Cougars, Thunderbirds, Breakers, Longshoremen (ha!).

  25. Emerald City Rain
    Seattle Raptors (bird of prey not Dino)

  26. David C Kimball says:

    It’s gotta be the Metropolitans. There’s an instant history that dates almost 100 years and a Stanley Cup.

    Singular team names like Sasquatch or freeze are way too gimmicky and should minor league names.

    If you’re gonna go with a salmon, why not Chinooks. King salmon-King county. Tossed on the ice ala Detroits octopi. Sockeyes is good for the double entendre though..

    Hockey is all about its history. Can’t imagine turning our backs on the Metropolitans and all if theirs.

  27. Using the Totems wouldn’t be cool because there’s already a local Junior team that has been using that name for years. I love the Metropolitan’s. Hoping they would have new jerseys and rarely wear the retros!

  28. Seattle Sasquatch

  29. My preferred hockey team name is Seattle Sentinels. Evokes pine trees, border guards & giant marauding robots from the future. Win win win.

  30. In my head I’ve always had Seattle Stags. Logo could be a snorting bull elk. Lots of good imagery to be used with antlers, etc. A big powerful animal native to this area. In addition, they could play off of “stampede”, “herd”, and whatnot for the fans. Could be cool.

  31. Seattle Sun Dodgers

  32. I love the Totems but someone else mentioned “The Kraken” which I thought was pretty unique.

  33. Austin Wallace says:

    So you want to name the new Seattle team after the Canucks’s jerseys? That will make them look like Vancouver’s farm team a couple hours to the south!