With the NHL Expansion Draft, the league brings back hockey to the original “title town.” Seattle has a rich hockey history that starts with the Metropolitans and comes full circle with the Kraken. This is that story: “From the Stanley Cup to the Kraken.”
Throughout my lifetime, the city of Seattle was not synonymous with hockey. In the 1990s, the Seattle Supersonics with Gary Payton or the Seattle Mariners with Ken Griffey Jr was the talk of the town. More recently, into the 2000s, the Seattle Seahawks are the cream of the crop with Russell Westbrook, the former Legion of Boom defense, or even Shaun Alexander. I’m 31-years-old, and I would have never guessed the Seattle Metropolitans were the first American team to win the Stanley Cup.
Seattle Metropolitans: A Brief History
In 1915, Seattle went through its original expansion into the PCHA (Pacific Coast Hockey Association). Professional hockey split between the PCHA and the NHA (National Hockey Association). When the Seattle Metropolitans began their expansion, they pulled a bevy of players from the Toronto Blueshirts, who had won the Stanley Cup just the season prior. What helped the Metropolitans keep competitive is their remarkable ability to remain stable in an era where players mostly signed one-year contracts.
Two seasons later, the Seattle Metropolitans were the underdogs against the Montreal Canadiens in the 1917 Stanley Cup Finals. The series length was a best-of-five instead of the present-day best-of-seven, but the Metropolitans handled the Canadiens. Securing the Stanley Cup in four games, Seattle swept Montreal in two, three, and four. In the series, the games alternated between NHA and PCHA rules. The Canadiens defeated the Metropolitans under PCHA rules in Game One, but Seattle defeated Montreal under NHA rules in Game Two and Game Four.
Within two years from the inception of the Seattle Metropolitans, they reached the pinnacle of hockey. Their Stanley Cup championship in 1917 remains the only time “Lord Stanley’s Trophy” called Seattle home. The Metropolitans franchised folded just seven years after winning the Stanley Cup. In all, Seattle’s first hockey club lasted nine years total, becoming defunct in 1924.
Seattle Kraken: Present Day
Making history is a recurring theme for Seattle hockey. Whether it’s when the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American professional hockey team to win the Stanley Cup, or the Kraken hiring Everett Fitzhugh, the first black NHL play-by-play broadcaster, Seattle is monumental for hockey. Further proof is Cammi Granato’s hiring as the first woman NHL pro scout with the Seattle Kraken. In 2021-2022, the Kraken will make their debut in the NHL in hopes that the Stanley Cup will make its return home.