NHL

Sean Durzi: ‘We Really Bonded’ From Last Year’s Distractions Of Relocation

Jul 5, 2024, 3:34 PM

Sean Durzi Utah Hockey Club Arizona Coyotes...

TEMPE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 22: Sean Durzi #50 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the second period of the NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mullett Arena on January 22, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Hockey Club has been making the most of this offseason with the draft, free agent signings, and trades. These moves by the Smith Entertainment Group ownership are keeping fans excited with the hope that these moves will pay off down the road with a potential playoff berth sooner than later.

Ever since it was announced that the Arizona Coyotes were moving to Utah, the fan reception has been amazing and the players have taken notice. 

Sean Durzi is one of many who have decided to remain with the Utah Hockey Club with a four-year deal. The defenseman joined the franchise last year after spending his first three years with the Los Angeles Kings.

He took to social media to show how excited he is for the upcoming season.

“I wanted to take a quick second to thank everyone for the warm welcome, love, and support,” Durzi said. “[I’m] pumped what’s to come over the next four years.”

“Thinking about the buzz around the team over the last few months and the excitement from the fans. It has all been incredible.”

This is not fake sentiment or laying it on thick just for the local fans. Durzi and others are enjoying a fresh start in a new city. The team gets to play in a professional stadium with support from the fans and the backing of a new ownership group.

Before the news came out that the Arizona Coyotes could be on the move to Salt Lake, that team was in playoff contention in January. Then, the rumors started, morale took a hit, the losses started piling up, and the team fell out of playoff contention.

No Distractions This Year

Durzi joined JJ & Alex on The KSL Sports Zone to express how big a deal it would be that the team could just focus on hockey. There will be no discussion about where they will play, move their families, or being in a constant state of unknown.

“We showed flashes of greatness, it was really special when we were on our game,” Durzi said. “We were playing that exciting offensively aggressive hockey… we beat some really good teams and teams became contenders down the stretch.”

“The question is if we can do this on a consistent basis,” Durzi said. “The guys last year, just knowing what we went through with all the adversity and distractions away from hockey. I think we really bonded from that and really excited to finally be able to play hockey.”

With nothing in the way and the focus just on hockey, this team should have a better season than last year. Hopefully, that means a playoff berth.

Utah Is Showing Massive Fan Support

Hockey fans in Utah have been showing up every chance they get, and these players are getting the memo and love the support. Delta Center was packed to the brim during the team introduction and season ticket sales went beyond capacity.

While home ice is not as highly regarded as an advantage, this first year of games for the Utah Hockey Club could buck that trend. Fans are loud and excited about this new club in town. 

While in Arizona, Mullett Arena was full but the stadium had a capacity of just 5,000 fans. Delta Center will have over 10,000 per game and Durzi says that will make a big difference.

“I have said it a million times and I will keep saying it,” Durzi said. “The excitement from the fans in the state of Utah is off the charts. You can just tell that this is a place that wants to have a team, love a team, and want the best for a team. That is all you can ask for as a player.

“Having passionate fans who are with you in the hard times and will then enjoy the sweet times so much more. I know the feeling is mutual throughout the team. We want to win for these fans because they are so excited.

These fans are welcoming and extremely excited to have another pro sports team in town to cheer on. The players have said that they are already feeding off that energy of being in a city that truly supports them and that can hopefully mean good things are on the way this season.

The Utah Hockey Club opens up the regular season at home by hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 8.

Tune into JJ & Alex every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

Want more coverage of Sean Durzi and the Utah Hockey Club? Take us with you, wherever you go.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

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Sean Durzi: ‘We Really Bonded’ From Last Year’s Distractions Of Relocation