Utah owner Ryan Smith unveils bracket system for naming NHL team on Pat MaCafee show

In an exciting development for Utah’s new NHL franchise, owner Ryan Smith has revealed that the team’s name will be decided through a fan-voted bracket system.

Smith, who recently finalized the purchase and relocation of the Arizona Coyotes to Salt Lake City, shared the details during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show.

“We’re doing a bracket,” Smith told McAfee, explaining that the process will begin with eight potential team names and be narrowed down until a winner is chosen. “We’re gonna take this down from like eight all the way down, and the fans are gonna vote for this,” he added.

Check out Smith’s full appearance on the Pat McAfee show below:

The bracket system is an innovative approach to involving the community in the naming process, ensuring that the new franchise reflects the passion and identity of Utah’s hockey fans.

While some have expressed concerns about the potential for online voting to be influenced by bots or pranksters, Smith assured listeners that his company, Qualtrics, is well-equipped to handle such challenges.

“I know how to handle the AI bots. We’re good,” Smith confidently stated.

Several trademark applications for potential team names have already been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including the Utah Blizzard, Utah Venom, Utah Fury, Utah HC, and Utah Hockey Club. These names, along with a few others, are likely to form the basis of the fan-voted bracket.

Smith emphasized the importance of allowing the community to have a say in the naming process, noting that the team will be “for Utah, by Utah”.

“It’s really about who shows up in these markets,” he explained. “Like do you show up? Do you come out to things? Is it family-oriented? And I think that’s where my faith is in the people of Utah.”

As anticipation builds for the unveiling of the new team’s name and branding, fans have already shown their enthusiasm for professional hockey in Utah. Within hours of opening up season ticket sales, the franchise received an astonishing 27,000 deposits.

While Smith has not provided a specific timeline for when the name will be announced, he has assured fans that the process will not be rushed.

“I don’t think given this timeline that we’re going to have time — or nor should we rush with everything else that’s going on — to go force what that is in the next three months,” he stated.

As the bracket system unfolds and fans cast their votes, the hockey world eagerly awaits the emergence of Utah’s new NHL identity.

With Ryan Smith at the helm and the community’s involvement in the naming process, the stage is set for an exciting new chapter in Utah sports history.