This combo of artists renderings, released Thursday by the Seattle Kraken, shows the NHL hockey team’s new logo, left, and name. Seattle Kraken via AP

HOCKEY

The NHL’s newest team finally has its name: the Seattle Kraken.

The expansion franchise unveiled its nickname Thursday, ending 19 months of speculation about whether the team might lean traditional or go eccentric with the name for the league’s 32nd team.

“The Kraken is a name born of the fans. It was suggested and championed by the fans,” Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke said.

In opting for the sea creature of Scandinavian folklore, Seattle bypassed options like Sockeyes, Evergreens or Metropolitans, the last of which would have been a nod to Seattle’s hockey history. There was even a push from some fans for the team to try to acquire the Thunderbirds name from the local junior team.

But Kraken was a clear favorite among fans, who rallied around the name soon after the expansion franchise was awarded in December 2018. The enthusiasm has grown since as the team built toward its debut for the 2021-22 season. It’s edgy and sounds menacing. And it gave the franchise a clear brand going forward.

“I think that we felt like this is so authentic and noble, and we hit all the main things that we really wanted that we feel really strongly that this is the right choice,” Heidi Dettmer, Seattle’s vice president of marketing, told The Associated Press. “I’ve totally fallen in love with this brand and I think our fans will.”

Seattle also unveiled its primary colors, which will be a deep dark blue – almost black – and a lighter shade of blue as a complement.

GOLF

EUROPEAN TOUR: English golfer Dale Whitnell had an eagle and five birdies for a 7-under 64 in the second round of the British Masters to move second at Close House Golf Course at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England.

Whitnell is 10 under par at the halfway stage, a shot behind Italy’s Renato Paratore (66), on the tour’s full return to action.

SOLHEIM CUP: Already a new mom, Michelle Wie West now has another new job. She was appointed Thursday to be one of Pat Hurst’s assistant captains for the Solheim Cup next year in Ohio.

“Just ecstatic,” Wie West said.

She married Golden State Warriors executive Jonnie West – son of NBA great Jerry West – nearly a year ago. They had their first child, a daughter named Makenna, last month.

The 30-year-old from Hawaii is young for this kind of role in golf, although hardly anything Wie West has done in her career would be classified as the norm.

A USGA champion at age 13 and a U.S. Women’s Open winner at Pinehurst No. 2 a decade later, Wie West has been among the biggest stars in women’s golf from competing on the PGA Tour as a teenager and turning pro before her 16th birthday. The last of her five LPGA Tour victories was more than two years ago, and she hasn’t played much since because of numerous injuries.

Asked about playing at Inverness Club for the Sept. 4-6 matches next year, Wie West said that would depend on Hurst and how much Wie West was even playing. Her last appearance was at the Women’s PGA at Hazeltine a year ago.

“I definitely want to compete again,” Wie West said. “That’s so far down the road. It’s not predictable at all. But I told Pat that I’m totally leaving it up to her. It’s her decision. And if she wants me to play, I’ll play. If she doesn’t want me to play and only be an assistant, I’m fine either way.”

TRIATHLON

IRONMAN: The annual Ironman World Championship in Hawaii has been canceled for the first time in its 43-year history.

Participants swim 2.4 miles, ride bikes for 112 miles and then run a marathon of 26.2 miles. The 2020 competition was initially postponed from Oct. 10 to Feb. 6, 2021. But organizers decided to cancel it because of continuing coronavirus concerns and the risks of international travel, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

The Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand, was also canceled for similar reasons.

TRACK AND FIELD

SUSPENSION: Former 1,500-meter world champion Elijah Manangoi was provisionally suspended for missing doping tests. The Athletics Integrity Unit said the Kenyan runner has been charged with “whereabouts failures.” No timetable for his disciplinary case was given.

Manangoi, who won the world title in 2017, is the latest gold medalist under investigation for being unavailable to give a sample or not updating details of where they can be contacted each day by sample collection officials.

Christian Coleman, the American sprinter who won the 100-meter title last year, and Salwa Eid Naser, the Nigeria-born 400 gold medalist running for Bahrain, have both been provisionally suspended while under investigation by the AIU.

Athletes who are unavailable three times within 12 months face a two-year ban.

Manangoi won the 1,500 title at the 2017 worlds in London and took silver in Beijing two years earlier.

BOXING

SAUNDERS SUSPENSION LIFTED: British boxer Billy Joe Saunders has had his suspension lifted and been fined $19,000 for appearing to condone domestic violence. Saunders posted on social media in March a video of himself using a punching bag to advise men how to hit their female partners if they argue during the coronavirus lockdown.

The WBO super middleweight champion admitted at the time he made “a silly mistake” and his promoter Eddie Hearn described the clip as “idiotic” and “unacceptable.” He was also heavily criticized by domestic abuse charities.

His license was suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control which, after a hearing on Wednesday, found Saunders guilty of misconduct and ordered his fine to be donated to charities. However, he was cleared to fight, the BBBofC said in a brief statement on Thursday.

Saunders, who is unbeaten in 29 fights, was close to agreeing to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Las Vegas in May before the COVID-19 outbreak.

FOOTBALL

NFL:  The Chicago Bears released tight end Ben Braunecker.

Undrafted out of Harvard in 2016, Braunecker caught 13 passes for 142 yards in 47 games for Chicago.

• The Dallas Cowboys and rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb agreed on a $14 million, four-year contract with $7.8 million guaranteed.

The Cowboys were surprised the former Oklahoma standout was available with the 17th pick in the draft, taking Lamb despite greater needs on defense and just a few weeks after giving receiver Amari Cooper a $100 million, five-year contract.

• Denver Broncos first-round draft pick Jerry Jeudy agreed to terms on a four-year, $15 million contract that includes an $8.6 million signing bonus.

SOCCER

ITALIAN LEAGUE: Juventus missed a chance to clinch a record-extending ninth straight league title as it lost 2-1 at relegation-threatened Udinese at Milan.

Ilija Nestorovski canceled out Matthijs de Ligt’s opener and Seko Fofana grabbed the winner in stoppage time to keep Juve’s celebrations on ice.

Juventus remained six points clear of second-place Atalanta and can secure the title with a win over Sampdoria on Sunday.

MLS: Yordy Reyna and Cristian Dajome scored six minutes apart in the second half, third-string goalkeeper Thomas Hasal had a clean sheet in his first Major League Soccer start and the Vancouver Whitecaps advanced to the MLS is Back Tournament’s knockout stage with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire at Lake Buena Vista,  Florida.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: Las Vegas Aces All-Star center Liz Cambage will miss the upcoming season after she was medically excused by the league’s independent panel of doctors, the team said.

By being granted the medical exemption, Cambage will be paid her full salary for the season by the Aces. Had Cambage’s request been denied by the panel, she would have had to either go to Florida to the WNBA bubble or sit out the season and not get paid.

The Aces declared Cambage as a protected player who was at high risk for getting severe illness if she contracted COVID-19.

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