Whether or not Seattle lands the 32nd NHL franchise, as many are predicting, the group vying for the expansion team reportedly already has a list of team nicknames registered for Internet domains.
If you like outside-the-box names, there's the Seattle Kraken, in honor of the mythical sea creature. For local flavor, it's hard to beat the Seattle Rainiers, for the majestic mountain that is visible from the city.
Those are just two of the 13 domain names recently registered by a person familiar with the expansion effort, according to Clark Rasmussen of DetroitHockey.net. Rasmussen broke similar news before the NHL's most recent expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, chose its nickname.
According to Rasmussen, 38 domains for 13 different names recently were registered in the name of an attorney with Oak View Group, the group that last month won the bid to redevelop Seattle’s KeyArena.
That redevelopment, expected to be complete by 2020, is central to Seattle's bid to land an NHL team. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced last month that the league's Board of Governors has agreed to accept and/or consider an expansion application from Seattle and allow billionaire David Bonderman, filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer and a group of investors to conduct a season-ticket drive.
Most of the other possible NHL team names, notably Emeralds, Evergreens, Sockeyes and Totems, are heavy on symbolism from the Pacific Northwest.
Cougars, Eagles and Seals are all names used by NHL teams in the distant past, while the name "Whales" conjures images of the Whalers franchise that played in Hartford, before moving to North Carolina and becoming the Hurricanes in 1997.
The other domain names registered were for the Seattle Firebirds, Seattle Renegades and Seattle Sea Lions.
Of course, a good team name is critical in merchandise sales, and the ownership group will have plenty of expenses to recoup if it earns the franchise. The expansion fee is $650 million, a sharp increase from the $500 million the Golden Knights paid in 2016.
However, Bettman made it clear last month the league is not actively conducting an expansion effort but merely letting the Seattle group gauge interest.
"It does not mean that we are opening a new expansion process. We will let them make a case and if they also want to try to do a study for selling season tickets, they can," Bettman said.