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A Comprehensive History of Seattle Kraken Jerseys

With Seattle slated to welcome NHL hockey back to Puget Sound in 2021, the Kraken have already begun making its mark with strong branding and a uniquely west coast identity.

Much like my Uniform History of the Vancouver Canucks, a huge thanks to nhluniforms for being an incredible resource from which much of the information and illustrations were drawn. Note that while the NHL’s adoption of helmet sponsors in 2020, they will not be within the scope of this piece.

A Brief History

The Emerald City’s hockey heritage goes back a long ways, to the Seattle Metropolitans in the early 1900s. Competing in the visionary Pacific Coast Hockey Association that pioneered innovations such as the blue line and forward pass, they helped shape our modern game before becoming the first American team to win the Stanley Cup in 1917.

But since the Metros folded due to the demolition of its home on 5th and University in 1924, Seattle has yearned for the return of the highest level in hockey.

The window of opportunity first cracked opened during the NHL’s divisional realignment in 2017, which left the Western Conference exactly two teams short of the East. Las Vegas was approved first in 2016, beginning play the following year with a hugely successful season.

Finally, the stage was set.

And on December 4, 2018, the NHL’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to place its 32nd franchise among the skyscraping Douglas Fir trees of the Pacific Northwest.

For the fans, by the fans

The Seattle organization built their franchise around its fans from the get-go, launching an interactive portal in 2019 where Seattleites could contribute to discussions around their team’s name and branding.

And over 215,000 votes (and however many hours that were spent monitoring fan opinion on social media) later, the Seattle Kraken was born.

Seattle Kraken Logo

The Kraken’s main logo is both simple, yet nuanced. At a glance, a distinctive ‘S’ is apparent, paying homage to the Metropolitans and written in a Gothic style unique in the league.

Dive a little deeper (get it?), and new details begin to emerge. The curvy, two-toned lines represent cresting Pacific waves, obscuring the Kraken lying in wait underneath.

Represented in the logo by its red eye and tentacle formed from the negative space (similar to the classic Hartford Whalers logo), the legendary creature is said to be hiding in the depths of Puget Sound.

Seattle’s secondary logo features an anchor representing the city’s deep maritime tradition, with its stock and shank forming a silhouette of the iconic Space Needle.

2021 – Present

The inaugural Seattle Kraken jersey was unveiled on July 23, 2020 alongside the team’s name and logo.

It features the team’s logo front-and-center, laid upon a base of deep-sea blue on the home variant and white on the away. On its flank are four sleeve stripes: ice blue, shadow blue, deep sea blue, and red alert.

A custom narrow font is used for the jersey numbers and lettering. To contrast with the jersey’s base, the home variant uses ice blue with a shadow blue outline around its numbers, while the away variant uses deep sea blue with an ice blue outline.The Kraken also wore an inaugural season patch on their right upper torso to commemorate their first season in the NHL.

2022 – 2023

The Kraken participated in the NHL’s second iteration of Reverse Retro jerseys with a nod to the Seattle Ironmen. Playing in the Pacific Coast Hockey League, the WWII-era team wore two-tone sweaters with a plethora of stripes fitting for the era.

Likewise, Seattle’s first special jersey features an ice blue top half, deep-sea blue bottom half, as well as thin-thick-thin alternating stripes on its sleeve. The hem gets a similar treatment, except on a thick ice-blue panel.

Missing, unfortunately, are the two stars on each shoulder present on the original jerseys.

Bright Future

Even before Seattle was awarded their NHL franchise, expectations already were high.

The potential of the new Expansion Draft format was on full display during the Vegas Golden Knights’ debut season in which they reached the Stanley Cup Finals, and according to some, anything substantially less from the Kraken is a failure.

However, the West is not an easy conference to win in, and with Pacific Division rivals such as Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary exiting their respective rebuilds, it’s about to get much tougher.

While Seattleites may not enjoy the same instantaneous success as their expansion siblings, they will undoubtedly have the pleasure of sharing with each other every celebratory fist bump, and every heartbreaking tear that comes with this special game, as hockey culture becomes woven into the fabric of their city.

And knowing that, like the legendary sea creature residing just off of Pike Place, their team is waiting for an opportunity to snatch the ultimate prize. ∎

Derek Woo

By day, Derek builds email campaigns and marketing automations. By night, however, he switches gears and builds on his lengthy lists of unfinished writing drafts. And sometimes, when the stars align (literally – he usually should be sleeping when this happens), he finally finishes one of these drafts and publishes it in the hopes that someone, somewhere will enjoy the read.

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