NHL

Utah HC President Chris Armstrong: “We Want To Create The Best Fan Experience”

Jul 5, 2024, 3:21 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm

Utah Hockey Club HC president Chris Armstrong...

Utah Hockey Club president of hockey operations Chris Armstrong speaks during a press conference held at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 5, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Isaac Hale, Deseret News)

(Photo courtesy of Isaac Hale, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Leading up to the Utah Hockey Club intra-squad scrimmage, multiple members of the organization and newly-acquired defenseman Mikhail Sergachev spoke with the media.

President Chris Armstrong, general manager Bill Armstrong, and head coach André Tourigny all gave their thoughts on the current state of the club and the next steps.

Chris Armstrong, Utah Hockey Club Wants Top Fan Experience In NHL

One of the biggest reasons the NHL came to Utah was because of the arena and fan experience troubles in Arizona.

The Delta Center already has Mullett Arena beat. But, Chris Armstrong still sees plenty of room for improvement in Utah.

“Off the ice, we want to maximize the fan experience,” Armstrong said. “We’re obviously renovating (the Delta Center) in a pretty significant way to make it optimized for hockey. In the meantime, we want to get creative to create the best fan experience possible and get as many people in this building as possible.”

Utah HC also wants to sell the people of Utah on the game of hockey.

The early response has shown that this may not be a problem. By focusing on the experience, they hope to bring fans back both for the team and the atmosphere.

“I see the opportunity to get people in the building,” Armstrong said. “Expose them to hockey, expose them to the energy of this environment, and create fans for life. For us, those are the immediate objectives.”

With all of that said, the well-being of the players is also at the top of the priority list.

The club knows that there is a symbiotic relationship between the players and fans regarding the experience of home games. The players on the ice feed off of the people in the stands and vice versa.

“We want to create an environment where our players have all the support and all of the resources they need to keep moving forward,” Armstrong said.

Addition Of Mikhail Sergachev And Utah’s Path To The Stanley Cup

After seven seasons of holding it down on defense in Tampa Bay, two-time Stanley Cup champion defenseman Mikhail Sergachev will suit up for Utah in its inaugural season.

Sergachev said that he wasn’t expecting to be traded, especially with a no-trade clause starting in just a few days. But, he remains excited for the new chapter.

“I wasn’t expecting to be traded,” Sergachev said. “But, talking to my agent, some players, Bill (Armstrong), and (André Tourigny), everybody said great things about Utah and the new franchise. Now that I’ve got here, it’s pretty amazing. I’m very excited. It’s a big opportunity for me to prove myself.”

Sergachev has already proved himself as an elite defenseman with a championship pedigree. The change of scenery gives him an opportunity to be a leader and do it all again.

Tourigny had extremely high praise for the team’s new acquisition.

“(Sergachev) will bring experience,” Tourigny said. “We have a lot of similarities with Tampa in terms of system. Not exactly the same but there are similarities. It will be quicker for (Sergachev) to adapt and adjust to how we play. I’m confident that it will be a smooth transition.”

Adding a player like Sergachev to a young group can only raise the team’s championship chances.

However, general manager Bill Armstrong spoke about what it takes to win it all in the NHL and how no one move makes a team a champion.

“You have to go through it,” Armstrong said. “If you’re going to win a championship, there’s going to be some pain. It’s going to leave a scar and you’re going to come back fighting a little harder. We hope by adding Stanley Cup winners, they’re going to help push us through those hard times and get over the hump.”

Chandler Holt is a co-host of the Jazz Notes podcast, a Locals In The NFL Insider, and Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Utah HC President Chris Armstrong: “We Want To Create The Best Fan Experience”