It’s time to examine potential NHL team names once again.
I know we’ve done it many times before. I know we did an entire bracket tournament about it several months ago. I know this. I know that. I know the other thing. But Geoff Baker is now writing about it, Mayor Jenny Durkan is now Tweeting about it, and Tod Leiweke is answering questions about it on KJR.
Picking a new NHL team name will be an exciting endeavor. What do you think, Seattle? Kraken? Metropolitans? Sockeye? Orcas? Steelheads? Emeralds? https://t.co/Y3qRcETiHi— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) August 14, 2018
For a conversation that doesn’t require any excuses, those are the only excuses I need.
More important, however, is what Leiweke told Dave “Softy” Mahler in the inaugural ‘Tuesdays with Tod’ weekly segment on KJR. The discussion about team names and colors is already happening behind the scenes at OVG, and decisions are likely to be made sometime next spring. While fans won’t have the final say in the name that is chosen, you can bet that fans will be listened to.
So today we start a new series for this. Last time we pitted the top potential names against each other in an NCAA style Twitter tournament. This time, we will also use Twitter polls, but instead of having the team names compete against each other, we will instead have them compete against the world.
First into the arena? The Seattle Metropolitans.
Metropolitans Against The World
In the last several years, no potential NHL team name has been discussed more frequently, or more passionately, than the Seattle Metropolitans. Having one’s presence on the Stanley Cup has that effect.
The Case For
According to Paul Kim, the most prominent proponent for the name, it’s about legacy.
“Metropolitans were the first American hockey team to win the Stanley Cup,” says Kim, who has arranged for two Seattle visits for that Cup. “This is something people that grew up playing hockey in the area holds pride in. Many youth teams have used Metropolitans jerseys for their spring league or summer league for decades. There are so many great things we could do by preserving the name. We would be able to host a Stanley Cup champions banner hanging ceremony before the first game. Anniversary throwback jersey games would be awesome too.”
The Case Against
Kim summarized his view of the opposition as follows. “I think people are not used to seeing green and red barber pole style sweaters and they do not want to share their name with a baseball team.”
The Twittersphere offers other reasons.
What Does Twitter Say?
First of all, should the team be called the Metropolitans, or something else?
.@OvgSeattle Might be Listening....— The Sin Bin (@SeattleSinBin) August 17, 2018
Seattle NHL team name?#NHLSeattle @NHLSeattle_
So 33% of those we polled prefer Metropolitans as the team name. While that’s far from a majority, don’t kid yourself. When we pit other team names against the world in the coming weeks, 33% will wind up having one of the highest levels of support, if not the highest. Don’t underestimate the popularity of this name. Enthusiasm is strong.
But how strong? If those who support the name don’t get their way, how many will elect not to support the team? In other words, how many are ‘Metropolitans or bust?’
.@OvgSeattle Might Be Listening...— The Sin Bin (@SeattleSinBin) August 17, 2018
Preferences aside, would you support a Seattle NHL team if they are NOT called the #Metropolitans?#NHLSeattle @NHLSeattle_
So, according to the poll, roughly a quarter of those who favor the Mets name feel so strongly about it that they would choose not to support the team. That’s how intense the support is.
But how strong is the opposition to the name?
.@OvgSeattle Might be listening..— The Sin Bin (@SeattleSinBin) August 17, 2018
Preferences aside, would you support a Seattle NHL team if they were called the #Metropolitans?#NHLSeattle @NHLSeattle_
So a little over a third of those who oppose the Metropolitans name feel so strong in their opposition that they would not support the team if the name is chosen
I believe these polls give weight to what I’ve seen in other polls, and in the comments of the many team name articles we’ve done. While the Metropolitans name likely has the highest level of community support, it also likely has the highest level of opposition. Furthermore, the opposition likely outweighs the support, both in percentage and intensity.
Let me say this about those who say they will not support the team if they don’t get their way. I don’t believe them. I don’t think they are lying about it. But when push comes to shove and the excitement builds to a crescendo, the vast majority will climb on board. It will become too much fun for fans to stay in self-imposed penalty boxes.
However, just because opponents to the name might still watch the team on television and in person, that doesn’t mean they will buy merchandise. I know Hannah will be reluctant.
If I’m part of OVG, this is one of the things I’m looking at when choosing a name - intensity of support versus intensity of opposition.