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The Seattle Kraken have no history of their own yet, but their name is rooted in myths that stretch back centuries.

The moniker is based on the real-life giant Pacific octopus, but legends about the kraken describe leviathan-like monsters that ruled the ocean. According to Seattle’s team website, a kraken instilled one message in all who crossed its path: “abandon all hope.”

The Kraken’s arrival in Seattle, however, is about harboring hope, especially in the team’s inaugural season starting this fall.

The Seattle Kraken are the NHL’s 32nd franchise, and given that the league has now evened out all four divisions with the same number of teams, there is a better-than-good chance that this will be the last time that the NHL expands. That means that this is a unique moment to celebrate the birth of a new hockey market and ponder what it will take for the Kraken to find a foothold in both the NHL and in Seattle itself.

One of the people who will help shape the franchise’s early history will be 31-year-old Canadian winger Jordan Eberle.

“[We’re] a group of guys that all want to be here and the opportunity that we have to create something here. That doesn’t come around very often.”

Eberle is the second-oldest player on the Kraken roster. He helped the New York Islanders make the conference final in each of the last two years, coming up just short of competing for a Stanley Cup, but now he finds himself as a core piece of an expansion team. Being left unprotected by New York during this year’s expansion draft naturally left Eberle with mixed feelings, but he is excited about the unique challenge ahead of him in Seattle.

“We’re going to have the responsibility of creating an identity first and foremost. I think that comes with the way that you play. We have an idea of what we want other teams to say about us after they play us. If you look at the makeup of our team, we’re a blue-collar team, we’re going to work hard, move quick and we’re going to play fast,” Eberle said, adding that general manager Ron Francis built a Kraken roster through the expansion draft and free agency that is built to compete in 2021.

“[We’re] a group of guys that all want to be here and the opportunity that we have to create something here. That doesn’t come around very often.”

He will be a veteran presence for a team looking to create an identity from scratch and on the fly in year one. Eberle says that since the first day of training camp this year, the team’s focus has been on being competitive right away and securing a playoff appearance this season. According to Eberle, that starts with earning the respect of their opponents on the ice.

“For me, it really starts with game one,” Eberle said.

Eberle, a native of Regina, Saskatchewan, has spent his decade-plus career in the NHL between the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders—two franchises and cities rich with decades-old hockey history. When Eberle joined each of those teams, he became a part of a franchise that is fundamental to the fabric of hockey in North America.

“I expect [from] seeing the Kraken gear around the city and the amount of tickets they have sold, how many jerseys they have sold—there’s a lot of buzz around the team. We have the responsibility of playing for them and building a franchise that they can be proud of.”

He now joins a team that must shape a history of its own starting this year. Seattle will play their first-ever regular season game on the road against the Vegas Golden Knights, who themselves shattered expectations of what an expansion club could accomplish when they entered the NHL in 2017.

The Golden Knights made the Stanley Cup Final in their first year and have qualified for the playoffs in each of their first four seasons in existence. They are not only the gold standard of expansion sports franchises; they are also proof of how quickly you can build a winning roster in the NHL.

“That’s the greatest part about the NHL … you’re able to create a competitive team right off the bat,” Eberle said. “You’ve seen Vegas do it. You don’t want to put yourself in that category—you want to create your own story—but I think we’ll be a competitive team. We want teams after they are done playing us to know that [it was a] hard night.”

Not every new franchise is a success story though. In the NHL alone, the Atlanta Thrashers were a failed experiment and the Arizona Coyotes and have yet to develop a true identity on or off the ice since they relocated to the desert in 1996.

The Kraken will be the first Seattle-based team to compete for the Stanley Cup since the Seattle Metropolitans folded in 1924. The Metropolitans actually found some early success in their time, doing battle with the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators in separate Stanley Cup Finals.

Like most major North American cities, Seattle has a healthy sports landscape. An NFL team (Seahawks) and an MLB team (Mariners) have each been there for more than 40 years, and the Seattle Storm have won four WNBA championships since their first season in 2000. The NBA’s SuperSonics skipped town for Oklahoma City in 2008, and rumours about the NBA returning or the NHL expanding to include Seattle have persisted for years since. Like they did with Las Vegas, the NHL won the race to grant Seattle a brand-new sports franchise this decade.

Eberle and the other new Kraken players have gotten a glimpse of their new fanbase and he already has an idea of what the city’s reputation will be amongst the NHL’s other 31 teams.

“It’s going to be amazing. We had a chance to go the Mariners game, we had a chance to go to the Seahawks game, and the fans here in Seattle are passionate. I expect [from] seeing the Kraken gear around the city and the amount of tickets they have sold, how many jerseys they have sold—there’s a lot of buzz around the team. We have the responsibility of playing for them and building a franchise that they can be proud of,” Eberle said.

“I think a lot of teams are going to come in and realize how beautiful Seattle is. Truly, what they have made for us and the amount of money that they have put in the team and just the general feeling of excitement you see around the city. You see Kraken gear everywhere. It’s going to be an awesome market to play in and once teams come in here, they are going to see that.”

The Seattle Kraken are here, and what kind of team and organization they will be isn’t known yet. That is the exciting thing about establishing a brand-new franchise. It may or may not take time to build a winning hockey team in Seattle, but like their namesake, the Kraken want to rule their waters.