Blackhawks react to ‘Seattle Kraken’ name, logo, sweater reveal

After the league’s next expansion team announced their branding Thursday, Jonathan Toews, Dominik Kubalik and Jeremy Colliton gave their impressions.

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A new Seattle Kraken flag flies atop the Space Needle on Thursday.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The NHL’s newest expansion team, the Seattle Kraken, revealed their name, logo, home and away sweaters and other branding at 11 a.m. Central time Thursday.

The Blackhawks, that very minute, were beginning practice at Fifth Third Arena, so as social media blew up with reactions — overwhelmingly positive for the most part — the Hawks themselves had no knowledge of the identity of their future Western Conference opponent.

A few hours later, they left the ice and saw the news.

“I actually found out a couple minutes ago on Instagram,” winger Dominik Kubalik said. “I like it. It’s going to be something new, but ‘Seattle Kraken’ sounds pretty good to me. I’m excited to play against them.”

The Kraken’s sweaters have a contrasting dark and light blue color scheme, accented by well-placed red. Hawks captain Jonathan Toews declared himself a fan.

Dylan Strome showed it to me on his phone,” Toews said. “It’s a good look, interesting name. Whenever you see a new jersey and a new name, it takes a few seconds for it to grow on you.”

The name itself was more hotly debated. Seattle general manager Ron Francis told reporters that “Kraken” — long considered the frontrunner externally — was the most frequently floated idea throughout the naming process. But other names, like the Sockeyes and the Metropolitans — Seattle’s original professional hockey team from 1915 to 1924 — were also tossed around. Capitals forward T.J. Oshie, a native of Washington State, said Thursday he wished it had been the Totems, another name occasionally mentioned.

The Kraken join the Avalanche, Lightning and Wild as the only NHL teams with singular nicknames.

“Obviously, we heard that Kraken was a big possibility, and it looks good so far,” Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “It’s got a history with the city and the colors and all those things. So [it’s] exciting for them to be joining the league.”

That’s expected to happen in the 2021-22 season. At that point, the Hawks may see their new foe differently.

“You saw how things took off in Vegas — hopefully, they’re not that good right away,” Toews said with a grin. “It’ll be interesting. It’ll be a great city to visit, to go play in and have be part of the NHL.”

Team Red finally wins

For the first time in the Hawks’ training camp scrimmages, Team Red upset Team Black at practice — 2-1 in a shootout.

A goal by forward Philipp Kurashev gave Red the lead for most of the 20-minute scrimmage, but Strome tipped in a shot by defenseman Slater Koekkoek to tie it with less than three seconds left.

Brent Seabrook and forward Dylan Sikura scored in the ensuing shootout for Red, and goalie Malcolm Subban stopped Patrick Kane to seal the victory.

Hawks change travel plans

The Hawks always planned to travel to Edmonton, their postseason hub city, on Sunday, but originally they were to practice in Chicago before traveling. Now they’ll fly in the morning and practice later in the day in Edmonton, Colliton said.

The change is part of a broader effort to get settled in the “bubble” quickly and smoothly.

“[We’ll have] Monday off, practice Tuesday, play the Blues Wednesday, then have two days of practice to prepare for [the Oilers],” Colliton said. “We’ll all be together in the hotel in Edmonton, so it’ll be lots of time to prepare, have some extra meetings to make sure we’re ready to go.”

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