From the moment the Seattle Kraken were announced as the 32nd member of the National Hockey League (NHL) in December 2018, the anticipation and excitement surrounding this new team has been palpable. The first professional sports team in Seattle since the Seattle Supersonics (NBA) left in 2008, the Kraken have already made their mark on the city and the hockey world.
But as the Kraken prepare to make their debut on the ice in the upcoming 2021-2022 season, one aspect of their journey that has been largely overlooked is the potential for new rivalries to emerge. Rivalries are an integral part of any sport, fueling passion, intensity, and a sense of community among fans. They add an extra layer of excitement to every game, whether it’s a matchup between traditional rivals or a new team making their mark in the league.
In this article, we will take a historical perspective on potential rivalries for the Seattle Kraken, both within the NHL and on a global scale. We’ll explore the significance of these matchups and what they could mean for the future of the Kraken and the sport of hockey.
Before we dive into the potential rivalries, let’s take a moment to appreciate the significance of the Kraken’s entry into the NHL. As mentioned, they are the first professional sports team in Seattle in over a decade, and with the city’s rich history in sports, the Kraken have big shoes to fill.
Seattle has a long-standing love for hockey, dating back to the early 1900s when the Seattle Metropolitans became the first team from the United States to win the Stanley Cup in 1917. In 1967, the Seattle Totems joined the Western Hockey League (WHL) and enjoyed a successful run before folding in 1975. Hockey remained a beloved sport in the city, and in 1976, the Seattle Thunderbirds were founded and are still a major junior ice hockey team that competes in the WHL.
Given this history, it’s no surprise that there’s a sense of nostalgia and excitement surrounding the Kraken’s arrival. And what better way to make a mark in the league and the hearts of fans than through rivalries?
First, let’s look at potential rivalries within the NHL. One matchup that’s already gaining buzz is the Seattle Kraken vs. the Vancouver Canucks. Both teams are located in the Pacific Northwest and are the closest geographically – making for an easy and intense rivalry. Additionally, the Kraken’s president and CEO, Tod Leiweke, was formerly the CEO of the Canucks, adding an extra layer to the potential for a heated rivalry.
Another intriguing possibility could be the Kraken vs. the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights had an incredibly successful inaugural season in 2017-2018, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their first year in the league. A matchup between the Kraken and the Golden Knights would be a battle for supremacy in the Pacific Division and could ignite a fierce rivalry between these relatively new expansion teams.
But rivalries don’t just occur within a single league – they can also transcend borders and bring together teams from different leagues or countries. In this sense, the Kraken have the potential to form international rivalries as well.
One such potential rivalry could be between the Kraken and the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow. While the KHL is based in Russia, it includes teams from several countries, including Finland, Kazakhstan, and China. With the Kraken’s recent partnership with Totems Hockey, a youth hockey team based in Seattle, there could be an opportunity for the two teams to build a connection and engage in friendly competition.
A similar opportunity could arise with the Kraken vs. the Korean National Team. With Seattle’s growing Korean population and the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, there could be a chance for the Kraken to build a partnership with the Korean team and perhaps even play an exhibition game or two as a precursor to the Olympics. This could spark a new rivalry between two unlikely teams, showcasing the global reach and impact of the sport of hockey.
While the Seattle Kraken are a new team in the NHL, they already have the potential to build exciting rivalries, both within the league and on an international scale. These matchups have the power to bring fans together, create memorable moments, and add an extra layer of intensity and passion to every game. As we eagerly await the Kraken’s debut on the ice, let’s remember the importance of rivalries in sports and how they can shape the future of the sport we all love.