Sports | February 4, 2020 6:00 am

Professional Hockey and Romance Novels Collide at Seattle’s NHL Franchise

On the surprisingly contentious debate over "Seattle Sockeyes"

Key Arena
Seattle's Key Arena will soon be home to an NHL team, but what that team will be called remains to be seen.
3bulletproof16/Creative Commons

We’re not too far away from hockey night in Seattle being a reality, and fans of the sport in and around the Emerald City are waiting with bated breath for the NHL’s latest franchise to make its debut. One question that remains unanswered as of now, though, is what this new team will be called. Rumors have abounded of a number of possibilities, including Seattle Kraken and Seattle Sockeyes — but no decision has been announced as of yet.

It’s an unexpectedly complicated situation, and it’s also one that involves a popular series of romance novels. No, you read that right. How do romance novels factor into the process of naming a professional sports team? Well, that’s where things get a little complicated.

At The Athletic, Craig Custance spoke with author Jami Davenport about her unexpected involvement in this debate. Davenport is the author of several romance novels featuring a fictional team called the Seattle Sockeyes. Davenport also holds a trademark for that name; as Custance writes, this has prompted some hockey fans to speculate that the Kraken name will be chosen to avoid any potential trademark issues. This has led to some pushback from local hockey fans.

Davenport argues that that isn’t the case, and that she’s made contact with the team’s front office. For their part, the team told Custance that the process of settling on a name remains ongoing.  If the Sockeyes name does end up taking hold, it wouldn’t be the first time an NHL team shared its name with a fictional hockey team.

Fans of Davenport’s romance series should note that she has no plans to stop writing about hockey. In her conversation with The Athletic, she dubbed hockey players “the workmen of the sports world.” The story of how she became a hockey fan herself, which included a lot of time spent watching the Seattle Thunderbirds, is thoroughly charming. And it’s hard to deny that “Seattle Sockeyes” has a great ring to it.

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