Seattle doesn’t even have a National Hockey League team yet – they were invited to apply for an expansion franchise on December 7 – but that hasn’t stopped speculation on what the league’s 32nd team might be named.
As I did before the Vegas Golden Knights’ name was announced, I’ve been keeping an eye on domain registrations. Most of the names that have come up over the last several weeks have been purchased by people who are known domain speculators, meaning they don’t tell us much about the direction any future ownership group might be heading. Yesterday, however, an interesting batch of domains were registered.
By my count, 38 domains representing 13 different possible names were registered under the name of Christina Song. Ms. Song, according to her LinkedIn profile, is General Counsel at Oak View Group, who won the bid to redevelop Seattle’s Key Arena on December 4. The domains were registered via an email address for a lawyer at Gibson Dunn. That firm assisted Oak View Group in the Key Arena bid process.
Does this mean that one of the 13 names is certain to take the ice for the NHL’s 2020-21 season? No. The franchise hasn’t even been applied for yet. The ownership group hasn’t even been formed (though names that might be involved have been tossed around). There is the distinct possibility that this is nothing.
That said, someone so close to the process applying for so many related domains is worth noting. As such, here are the 13 possibilities:
Seattle Sea Lions
It’s an interesting list with a lot of nicknames we’ve seen before.
The Seattle Totems were a WHL and CHL team that expected to jump to the NHL in 1976 but failed due to ownership issues. The Seattle Rainiers, meanwhile, were a minor league baseball team that ceased operations to make room for the Seattle Mariners.
Seals was previously used for the NHL’s failed Oakland franchise, while Eagles was the name the original Ottawa Senators went by when they relocated to St. Louis for their final season. Cougars was the original name of the Detroit Red Wings franchise, chosen in honor of the Victoria Cougars, from whom much of their roster was purchased.
Additionally, Firebirds is currently used by the OHL’s Flint team. Last year we saw the Vegas organization claim that the OHL’s London Knights blocked them from being the “Las Vegas Knights” (a name that they later conceded was never really an option), so the recent history of a potential NHL team using an OHL name is messy.
All of that said, registering this block of domains would cost about $400, so it’s not exactly breaking the bank for a group that’s investing $600 million renovating an arena. They could do this just to keep their options open. It is curious, though.
Update, 4:15 PM: There’s been an interesting twist in this story, as sometime after I checked the Whois records – which show domain ownership, among other things – for the 38 domains, they were all switched to proxy registrations, removing the true registrant from the record.
For the record, both of my rounds of Whois checks (this morning around 8:30 AM and this afternoon) were through the ICANN website. All of the domains show as having been registered yesterday for two years.
The following is the full list of 38 domains:
Update, 1/20/2018 9:10 AM: Has a new contender emerged? It’s an extremely tenuous connection so take it with a grain of salt, but on Friday domains related to the name “Seattle Sasquatch” were registered.
The domains were registered privately through GoDaddy, as all of Thursday’s domains now are. They were registered for two years, like the original batch of domains. They also fit the naming convention of the original batch, seattlesasquatchhockey.com and seattle-sasquatch.com.
This could very easily be a domain speculator following the format we published yesterday, so it’s probably nothing. It’s just similar enough to the original set, though, that I thought it was worth a mention.
In all likelihood, any future domain registrations from this organization will be private, so we won’t be able to definitively tell anything from them. We’ll keep looking, though.