Pros And Cons Of Every Potential Utah Hockey NHL Team Name

The search for a name for Utah's new team is down to six choices. Fans will have until June 20th to place their votes.
Utah Hosts NHL Welcome Party
Utah Hosts NHL Welcome Party / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

Smith Entertainment Group announced that six names have emerged from the first round of fan voting their new NHL team in Utah. 60% of all votes were for one of these names and now a second round of fan voting will happen until June 20th. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each of the six finalist team names.

The Pros And Cons Of Every Potential Utah Hockey NHL Team Name

Utah Outlaws

The pro is that “outlaws” immediately invokes images of cowboys in the Wild West, which Utah was kind of sort of a part of. The cons outweighs any cowboy fantasies you might have as the major con here is that “outlaw” means “criminal”. Sports teams typically try to stay away from crime related names, with the exception of things such as “pirates” and “raiders” which are more of a thing of the past. The fear is that criminals and gangs might adopt team merchandise as their own. Imagine a biker gang walking into the rink of all buy matching “Utah Outlaws” jersey?

There’s actually modern hockey related precedent to this. When San Jose was awarded an NHL expansion franchise the team held a “name the team” contest back in 1991. The winning name was actually “The Blades” which team owners rejected in part because of concerns of gang violence.  

Utah Venom

Another names whose main pro is that it “sounds cool”. Another pro is that it would go hand in hand with a snake as a mascot. There are no snake mascots in the NHL, although the International Hockey League’s Detroit Vipers, famous for signing a then 69 year old Gordie Howe for one game, are a good example. The major con is that does anyone associate snakes with Utah? Utah actually does have a sizeable population of snakes, but hockey fans outside the region might not understand the connection. Fans might also confuse them with the similarly named “Arizona Diamondbacks” of Major League Baseball.

Utah Yeti

This was one of our ideas for a team name when the Arizona Coyotes relocation rumors started coming out, so they might owe us royalties on this. The name seems like slam dunk as it perfectly fits the snowy image most of us already have a Utah. Just like the “venom” team name could easily be paired with a snake mascot, this could easily be paired with an abominable snowman mascot, which we image could be made equally as menacing and kid friendly. No current NHL team has a Yeti as a mascot, although the Colorado Avalanche originally did. As noted when Michael DeRosa advocated for the Yeti team name in the Hockey News, this could spur a geographical rivalry with the Avalanche and the Seattle Kraken, who are also named after a mythical creature.

Utah Blizzard

Just like “Utah Yeti”, we have another snow themed named. In our earlier article where we thought up team names we had a few similar ideas using snowboard lingo. The name is way too close the “Colorado Avalanche” though. Come up with something different, Utah. Do we like the snow idea? Absolutely! Would a snow themed name work? Absolutely! Do we still think the name is too close to comfort form Colorado’s team name? Also, absolutely!

Utah Mammoth

Continuing on the snow themed names we come to the “Mammoth”. Anything that has a connection to snow, or in this case the ice age, would world for Utah, so we can mark that down as a pro. This also sets up a wooly mammoth as their team mascot. That’s another pro, and it’s quite original with only the Nashville Predators coming even the slightest bit close. The con is that “Yeti” just seems to work better. You can make a Yeti cute and terrifying. It’s easier to hire someone to wear a Yeti costume. Think of how much more merchandise you can sell with the team name “Yeti” instead of “Mammoth”. Marketing concerns are what bring this idea down.

Utah Hockey Club (Utah HC)

Consider this a dark horse candidate. The clear drawback is the lack of creativity. “Utah Hockey Club” lacks an identity for a new and excited fan base. That lack of creativity is the only “con” as far as we can see, and let us explain why. For one, when the Washington NFL team changed their name to the temporarily placeholder “Washington Football Team” it worked better than expected. The team has since been renamed the Washington Commanders.

Second, and most importantly, is that it’s got a little bit of soccer flair. Soccer is the biggest sport in the world and NHL teams have picked up on ways they can adopt certain aspects. Major League Soccer even left behind their initial “American sports teams names” to have their teams have more European soccer team sounding ones. For example, Utah’s MLS team is called “Real Salt Lake”, in reference to teams like “Real Madrid”. Utah might not be known for soccer, but a name like that just sounds right.