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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Meet the … Utah Yeti? NHL Franchise Polling 20 Options for New Team Name

  • Owner Ryan Smith posted a survey with options like the Utah Black Diamonds, Swarm, and Caribou.
  • The team will wear ‘Utah’ jerseys for the upcoming season.
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The team name options for Utah’s new NHL franchise are here. They can charitably be called interesting.

Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz and MLS’s Real Salt Lake who recently purchased the Arizona Coyotes franchise, posted a survey on social media Wednesday. “Utah! Our NHL team is here. Help us choose a name,” he wrote, along with a link to Qualtrics, the survey software company that made him billions.

The team will wear jerseys with “Utah” across the chest during the 2024–25 season, similar to the interim branding employed by the PWHL and Washington Football Team. In the meantime, fans can vote for up to four teams out of 20 compiled from an earlier Qualtrics survey asking for suggestions. The following round and next steps will be announced this summer, the survey said.

Some of the names on the list paid homage to the region’s weather, like the Utah Blizzard, or its skiing culture, like the Utah Black Diamonds. Others connected to the “Beehive State” nickname: Utah Swarm and Utah Hive. One took a page from the Kraken’s book with a mythological creature, the Utah Yeti, while another proved an attempt to copy from soccer with Utah HC. One suggestion, the Utah Caribou, could lead to some marketing efforts around the holidays.

Many of the options sound more like minor league baseball teams than an NHL franchise, and a large portion of them take on the collective noun often found in teams outside of the men’s four major professional leagues, like the San Diego Wave or the LA Galaxy. A few of them simply fall flat; no offense, Utah Ice.

When Smith bought the team from Alex Meruelo, the Arizonan kept the rights to the Coyotes branding with hopes of restarting the franchise as an expansion team. The Utah cohort has to implement several changes in addition to getting a new team name, including making upgrades to the Delta Center, securing a practice facility, and selling tickets. Luckily for Smith, fans have already embraced the team—Smith announced they’d received more than 20,000 season-ticket deposits less than 24 hours after the relocation became official.

Now the fans get a rare say in their team name in voting open until May 22. Take a look at the 20 options the team presented:

  • Utah Outlaws
  • Utah Frost
  • Utah Powder
  • Utah Canyons
  • Utah Squall
  • Utah Freeze
  • Utah Swarm
  • Utah Blast
  • Utah Ice
  • Utah HC
  • Utah Black Diamonds
  • Utah Caribou
  • Utah Fury
  • Utah Hive
  • Utah Mountaineers
  • Utah Blizzard
  • Utah Yeti
  • Utah Mammoth
  • Utah Glaciers
  • Utah Venom
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