Ryan Smith Says Fan-Voted Bracket Will Decide Utah’s NHL Team Nickname

Apr 22, 2024, 1:06 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Ryan Smith told Pat McAfee that Utah’s NHL team will have its nickname decided by a bracket voted on by hockey fans.

Ryan Smith talks Utah’s NHL team with Pat McAfee

The NHL’s newest owner joined The Pat McAfee Show on Monday, April 22.

Process to choose Utah’s NHL team’s nickname

During his appearance on McAfee’s program, Smith detailed how the nickname of Utah’s NHL team would be chosen.

“We’re doing a bracket,” the NBA and NHL team owner told the former NFL punter.

Smith added that the bracket would begin with eight nicknames and trimmed down until the eventual winning name is decided. “We’re gonna take this down from like eight all the way down and the fans are gonna vote for this,” Smith detailed.

Since the middle of April, multiple trademark applications for team nicknames related to Utah have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Those nicknames include Utah Blizzard, Utah Venom, Utah Fury, Utah HC, Utah Hockey Club, Utah Yetis, and Utah Outlaws.

Assuming Smith’s ownership group was the one to file for the trademarks, that would leave one more nickname to decide the eight in the fan-voted bracket.

Before the interview ended, Smith emphasized to McAfee that “the people are gonna vote” for the team’s nickname.

Some other interesting details came out of the owner’s appearance on the ESPN and YouTube-based show.

Smith told McAfee that the team has received 27,000 deposits for season tickets since the pre-order process began on April 18.

Next steps for Utah’s NHL team

He also detailed the following as the next steps for Utah’s NHL team:

  1. Name the team
  2. Relocation of team personnel from Arizona to Utah
  3. Find a practice facility

Utah’s NHL team better than an expansion club?

Smith is optimistic about Utah’s NHL team and the talent coming up from Arizona to the Beehive State. In recent seasons, NHL expansion teams like the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken have seen success come fairly quickly. The Golden Knights played in the Stanley Cup Final in their first season as a team and won the league title in Year 6. The Kraken reached the second round of the playoffs in their second season.

Although Smith reportedly preferred an expansion club over purchasing a current franchise, he told McAfee that he believes after talking with people around the league that Utah’s team is “further ahead” than an expansion organization would have been.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. Listen to Ireland on Yards After College: An NFL Podcast. Follow him on X (@kyleireland), Threads (@kyleirelandksl), and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Ryan Smith Says Fan-Voted Bracket Will Decide Utah’s NHL Team Nickname