There are rumors floating that the financially-troubled Phoenix Coyotes could be considering a relocation to Seattle, maybe even before Chris Hansen agrees to break ground on a new NBA-and-NHL-accessible arena. Even if this move doesn't end up happening, it's seems very likely that the NHL will find a way to put a team in Seattle, so now is as good a time as any for us fans (presumably) to select the best, most appropriate team name imaginable. Seattle is a vibrant, diverse and growing city, and we should have a healthy consideration of all the ways our unique culture can be expressed. We shouldn't just limit ourselves to a few name candidates that have been floating around seemingly forever, but let's start with them first:
That's right, Seattle had a pro hockey team from 1915 to 1924, and was the first American team to win the Stanley Cup in 1917. On the plus side, "metropolitan" has a classy, upscale veneer to it that fits the city of Seattle fairly well, although, on the flip side to that coin, do you want to related in any way to the New York Mets?
That's right, Seattle currently has a minor-league hockey team, called the Thunderbirds. (Although it should be mentioned that they don't play in Seattle anymore; they play in Kent. Kent is NOT Seattle). Did you know that the Thunderbirds were originally called the Seattle Breakers, from 1977 to 1985? Yeah, lets not even consider bringing back that name. Like the Seahawks (although not really, anymore), the Thunderbirds logo is a depiction of Native American carvings....are both "Seahawks" and "Thunderbirds" a description for the osprey, or two different birds? Anyway, Thunderbirds is a perfectly cromulent name for a hockey team, although "Thunder" has a negative connotation these days....
Sticking with the Native American imagery, totem poles are certainly a unique and proud tradition of the indigenous peoples of the Puget Sound region, and we should definitely do more to honor these people than what we do now. At the same time, it seems that too many pro sports teams across the country have "borrowed" the iconography and history of our fellow Native Americans -- most notably the offensively-named Washington Redskins -- and it could be argued that, no matter our intentions, this is a practice that should stop.
Not too many mega fauna call Seattle home, and, in my own humble opinion, it's a little difficult to get excited over seafood. But if there's one "iconic" image that the rest of the world likes to represent Seattle, it's those guys at Pike Place throwing around the salmon. Sports teams like naming their teams after local wildlife, and when it comes to Seattle there's the Chinook (or just Salmon, I guess), or the Orca, which the Vancouver Canucks might object to, and the Octopus, which the Detroit Red Wings might object to. No matter how frivolous it might be, I don't think the team owners would pick a name that might get them sued. (Another fun thing to think about: The Seahawks were almost called the Scampi, which is silly and fun to think about, yet at the same time I would never root for a team named after shrimp).
Seattle Chords From Quincy Jones to Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana to Macklemore, our city has a proud musical tradition, one that should be celebrated beyond the giant blob next to the Space Needle. No one likes this idea, and, after lengthy retrospection, I decided that music-based team names are stupid.
Good enough name for minor-league baseball for nearly a century, maybe it's time for it to go pro!
Both a name for a local mountain range, as well as a waterfall or avalanche or any other kind of natural collision.
Mt. Rainier is a volcano that could kill thousands upon thousands of people around here if it were to erupt, thanks to the rivers of firy ash that would stream from melted glacier that makes up a huge chunk of Rainier (no, lets not call our hockey team the Seattle Lahars, if you please). Also, Seattle-ites are known to be logical and polite, and usually suppress all emotions around strangers.
Seattle Needles Because, you know, of our fondness for knitting. This was supposed to be about the Space Needle, not....you know, heroin injection. Seattle Roasters Because, you know, of our fondness for chicken made by Kenny Rogers.
Seattle Rain (or Reign)
Hey, it rains here? I hadn't noticed. And hey, a woman's minor league soccer team is named the Reign? Also hadn't noticed.
What do they make hockey sticks out of? That's right: trees. Evergreen trees? I have no fucking idea.
Seattle 747s Hey, a plane Boeing ACTUALLY made! But it won't be something a hockey team is actually named after.
(UPDATE: Plenty of good suggestions in the comments, so how about I deleted a few of the overlooked choices with some you guys seem to like:)
I'm not giving three fish-based name selections here, so if you like either Steelhead or Sockeye vote for Steelhead, and if it gets enough votes maybe we'll have a run-off poll, or something. Somehow I don't think it's going to come to that.
I'm all in favor of a flannel-based hockey uniform, and "Lumberjacks" just seems like a natural moniker for a hockey team.....but not many Seattle-ites would be thrilled to be reminded of all the ecological damage logging has done.
Didn't know what a "seawolf" was, so a I googled it, and found out that, not only is the name of a minor league soccer team playing in Everett (jeez, sure is a lot of those 'round here), it's also the name of both a fish and a sea lion, a book by Jack London written about 110 years ago, and a few different classes of submarine (great, another fish entry). Nothing very "Seattle" about this team name, but at least it sounds cool (and certainly less wimpy than "Seals").
UPDATE #2: Going to add one more, because enough comments have brought it up, and it doesn't sound stupid to me, which is important because I wrote this fanpost.
I am not going to put the Pilots on this poll. Other than readers of "Ball Four," no one has fond memories of the 1969 Seattle Pilots, and for all intents and purposes they were a joke of a franchise that (in my opinion, obviously) have put some kind of curse on pro baseball in this city. Also, when I think of "Pilots" I think of some dude in a cool hat flying a Southwest airlines flight to Denver (and maybe Denzel Washington in "Flight," but he was hardly a role model). Aviators, though, have those cool sunglasses, and make flying planes sound less like a boring job than "pilots" does. The Seattle Pilots are part of that quirky Seattle history that adds to our unique flavor....and let's just keep it that way.
Okay, that's enough. Go ahead and nominate any other team names in the comments, and if any get rec'd enough maybe I'll update the poll. But only names that are at least somewhat possible to be considered for an actual hockey team; I'm sure the "Seattle Fuck David Sterns" would get a lot of votes, but don't count on it getting any serious consideration.