Release the Kraken! Seattle's new hockey team will have a catchy, mythic name

The fearsome Scandinavian sea monster is set to rise out of Puget Sound in late 2021.
Image: Future Home Of NHL Team Seattle Kraken Climate Change Arena
The Seattle Kraken team flag flies above the Space Needle in Seattle on Thursday.Abbie Parr / Getty Images

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By David K. Li

The Seattle Kraken will hit the ice late next year after the NHL expansion franchise tapped a fearsome, mythical sea creature for its catchy name Thursday.

Seattle was awarded the NHL's 32nd franchise in late 2018, and team officials said they rifled through about 1,200 suggestions before picking the squid-like monster of Scandinavian folklore, which terrorized sailors in the North Atlantic.

The team starts play in the 2021-22 season, playing home games in Climate Pledge Arena.

"We know that the past few months have posed an unprecedented change in all our lives with many interesting moments," Kraken majority owner David Bonderman said in a statement. "Through it all, we have been on a long journey to name our team and design the logo with input from our fans, our leadership team and partners."

Without having played a single period of hockey, the team already has a well-known, battle-tested cry: "Release the kraken!"

In the 2010 movie "Clash of the Titans," Liam Neeson's Zeus cries out, "Release the kraken!" The catch phrase, which was featured in the film's trailer, became an instant pop culture hit.

The Kraken became an early favorite of Seattle hockey fans, who relentlessly lobbied the team.

"I think it was a great decision by the team," sports logo aficionado Chris Creamer told NBC News. "They really listened to their fans, they studied social media, and it was so refreshing to see how much they wanted to a pick a name for the fans."

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Creamer, founder and editor the online museum SportsLogos.net, said that the "unique and unusual" moniker is unlike any other in major pro sports and that it will help the expansion franchise stand out.

"If someone says 'Seattle Kraken,' you'll know exactly what they're talking about," said Creamer, author of "Fabric of the Game: The Stories Behind the NHL's Names, Logos, and Uniforms."