Utah Hockey Club’s Clayton Keller Talks Leadership, Shares Favorite Team Nicknames

Jun 14, 2024, 12:08 PM | Updated: 12:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITYUtah Hockey Club forward Clayton Keller joined the Utah Puck Report Podcast to discuss NHL stardom and overcoming injuries in his career.

Clayton Keller on leadership, Utah, and team nicknames

Keller recently joined Jay Stevens on the KSL Sports’ Utah Puck Report. The veteran right wing talked about his leadership, relocating to Utah, favorite team nicknames, and more.

Clayton Keller as a player and leader

Keller described his growth as a player and leader. He credited overcoming a major injury for seeing the game differently as an experienced player.

“I’m a highly competitive guy, always striving to get better, and as I’ve gotten older and played longer in the league I’ve turned into more of a leader and I think I’ve done a great job with that,” Keller said. “Throughout the years, I had some setbacks, a pretty big injury that I was able to rebound from, and that kind of opened up my eyes to a whole other part of the game.


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A post shared by Clayton Keller (@claytonkeller19)

Keller also shared that Utah will be a fun and exciting team for fans to watch.

“I think we’re gonna be a very fast team, skilled team, and a team that you definitely want to watch, not a team that’s gonna put you to sleep,” Keller said.

Relocation to Utah

Like many of Keller’s teammates who’d already joined the podcast, the forward said the team began hearing rumors of moving out of Arizona during the middle of the 2023-24 season. Keller said it wasn’t until late in the season when the reports came out about Utah that the things began to be real. He said that the team was excited to have “a plan” for their future and looked forward to moving to Utah.


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A post shared by Clayton Keller (@claytonkeller19)

In April, the team visited the state after the announcement of relocation was made by the NHL. A welcome party was held at the Delta Center. However, it wasn’t Keller’s first time in the Beehive State. The right wing had attended a UFC fight in Salt Lake City with some teammates and his younger brother a year earlier.

“It was unbelievable. We didn’t really know what to expect,” Keller said of the trip to Utah in April. “Landing at the airport and seeing so many people was pretty special and then obviously at the rink later, same thing. You know, Ryan [Smith] was telling us how many people were gonna be there…that whole welcome was unbelievable. It’s definitely motivating for us.


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Permanent team nickname

On June 13, Smith Entertainment Group announced that the franchise would own the temporary name of “Utah Hockey Club” during its inaugural season. The process to decide a permanent nickname is ongoing and a fan vote is currently in the middle of a second round. An additional round of voting will take place in the future.


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Utah Venom, Utah Blizzard, Utah Mammoth, Utah Yeti, Utah Hockey Club, and Utah Outlaws are the finalists to be the permanent nickname.

Keller said that he likes Yeti and Mammoth the most.

Nicknames aside, the NHL star is ready to play in front of a Delta Center crowd.

“We all couldn’t be more excited to be coming to Utah,” Keller said.

To hear Keller’s entire conversation on the Utah Puck Report podcast, check out the audio and video players above.

Kyle Ireland is a Utah Hockey Club Insider for KSLSports.com. Follow him on X (@kyleireland), Threads (@kyleirelandksl), and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Utah Hockey Club’s Clayton Keller Talks Leadership, Shares Favorite Team Nicknames