Rick Zamperin: Seattle Totems, Rainiers, Metropolitans, Sockeyes, Kraken?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, center left, holds a jersey after the NHL Board of Governors announced Seattle as the league's 32nd franchise, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Sea Island Ga.. Joining Bettman, from left to right, is Jerry Bruckheimer, David Bonderman, David Wright, Tod Leiweke and Washington Wild youth hockey player Jaina Goscinski. AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

Now that the city of Seattle is getting its own National Hockey League franchise in 2021, hockey fans, and even non-fans, are sharing their two cents on what the team’s nickname should be.

This seemingly easy task is not something the team’s ownership group can afford to screw up. A nickname is vitally important to the franchise’s brand and must connect the city it represents with its fanbase.

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Think of some of the most iconic nicknames in sports. Yankees, Lakers, Cowboys, Maple Leafs. Most people, if not all, can envision their logo or a famous player, past or present.

For expansion teams, there is no legacy to capitalize on or history to showcase, so choosing a nickname that strikes a chord with fans is critical.

READ MORE: NHL approves Seattle expansion for ’21-22 season

The CFL’s new expansion franchise, the Atlantic Schooners, has already been a smash hit with fans in the Maritimes and the team won’t even take the field until 2020 at the earliest.

Vegas oddsmakers have unveiled their betting favourites for Seattle’s hockey team nickname, listing Totems, Emeralds and Rainiers as the top three choices. The Seattle Times polled its readers and Sockeyes, Totems, Metropolitans, Steelheads and Kraken were the top five choices.

I like Emeralds, and even Evergreens, but I believe the franchise and its fans will likely pick either Totems, Rainers and Metropolitans. Which should be the favourite?

While Totems would provide logo and jersey designers with many creative options, I don’t think the ownership group will want to wade into the controversy that follows teams like the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Blackhawks.

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Archive footage show the 1967 Seattle Totems take on the Vancouver Canucks

Click to play video 'Archive footage show the 1967 Seattle Totems take on the Vancouver Canucks' Archive footage show the 1967 Seattle Totems take on the Vancouver Canucks
Archive footage show the 1967 Seattle Totems take on the Vancouver Canucks – Dec 4, 2018

The Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup in 1917. But the NHL already has a Metropolitan Division and I doubt the league would want any duplication.

READ MORE: Rick Zamperin: Seattle is more than deserving of an NHL franchise

Rainers, a tribute to Mount Ranier, an active volcano, lends itself to a cool logo and an instantly identifiable landmark in Washington state, but it doesn’t flow off the tongue as crisply as, say, Sockeyes, Kraken or Whales.

Whatever nickname is chosen, I’m sure Seattle fans will fall in love with it.