Mammoth? Yetis? Ranking 8 possible names for NHL’s Utah team

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Mammoth? Yetis? Ranking 8 possible names for NHL’s Utah team

The NHL will be in Utah beginning next season. But the Salt Lake City-based team still needs a name.

We’ve seen a flurry of possibilities hit the internet since the Arizona Coyotes were officially sold to Qualtrics owner Ryan Smith and wife Ashley last week. Many have stemmed from recent trademark applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Uyte LLC, based in Delaware.

As opinions on the options pile up, we decided to do a ranking, entrusting Julian McKenzie and Sean McIndoe with determining which name suits the new Utah team best. They both ranked each team name on a scale of 1-10 (10 is the best, 1 is the worst) and what you see below is based on the combined score between our judges.

1. Utah Yetis

McIndoe: 8

McKenzie: 6

McIndoe: I like it. I’ve seen a few people saying it should be “Yeti,” but we already have one recent team that went with a singular version of a mythological creature. Yetis is one of those names that somebody somewhere should have used by now, and it works well enough with Utah. On a weak list, it’s my favorite of the bunch. (That said, I know I’m not the only one who hasn’t been able to stop pronouncing it “Yeh-TAY” since the incident.)

McKenzie: I think the name is mid, but a lot of people like it. I just think there are some better names out there. But Sean is right, “Yetis” does work as a Utah-like name. And if the logos and color schemes work out, I could totally be swayed. I also wouldn’t have minded if it was just “Yeti.” Could’ve been the start of a nice singular-name rivalry between them and the Seattle Kraken. Or the Colorado Avalanche!

2. Utah Mammoth

McIndoe: 5

McKenzie: 7.5

McKenzie: Mammoth is one of my favorites. It’s much fiercer and imposing compared to Yeti. Also, “Mammoth” works perfectly as a singular name, too.

McIndoe: This is one where going with the singular version hurts. If it was just “Mammoths”, I’d have given it at least an extra point. “Mammoth” is an adjective, so you’re pretty much calling your team the Utah Bunch of Really Big Guys. How’s that going to make Logan Cooley feel? Small, that’s how. That said, as far as picking an intimidating creature to name your team after, the Woolly Mammoth is fine. Not great, but given the other options, we can’t let perfect be the enemy of barely adequate.

3. Utah Outlaws

McIndoe: 7

McKenzie: 5

McIndoe: When I was a very small child, my parents took me to a Wild West theme park where a carriage ride was interrupted by a bandit who jumped out of the bushes and threatened to rob us. All the grownups told me to “shoot” the bad guy with a finger gun. When I did, he keeled over very dramatically and everyone told me I’d saved the day. Then I spent about the next two years of my young life convinced I could snipe people with my hand and feeling terrified about what I would do with these newfound powers.

Where was I? Oh, right. Outlaws is a decent name, we could live with that.

McKenzie: I’m OK with Outlaws. But only if the logo is Sean flashing a big grin with a finger gun. Because if Sean McIndoe don’t trust you, he gon’ shoot you.

4. Utah HC/Hockey Club

McIndoe: 3

McKenzie: 8

McIndoe: No.

Look, I get it, and it works fine for soccer. This isn’t soccer. You have a hockey team, give it a hockey name. Follow our traditions, newbie. Name your team after something big and scary and powerful and/or a kind of leaf.

McKenzie: Yes.

UHC or Utah Hockey Club is more than fine. If the Professional Women’s Hockey League can show us that we don’t need team names for people to get behind squads — and trust me, I was on the opposite side of that argument — why can’t it work for UHC? And that it’s taking a page from soccer, a sport that laps almost every other sport on the planet in terms of popularity, is pretty dope. Long live UHC.

5. Utah Blizzard

McIndoe: 4

McKenzie: 7

McIndoe: I get that it kind of plays off the Avalanche, which isn’t the worst way to signal the start of a quasi-rivalry. It also sounds like an ice cream treat, which isn’t very intimidating but would probably help your corporate sponsorship team get off to a good start. My main problem here is that I was pretty sure remembered that “Blizzard” was the name of the pro soccer team in Toronto when I was a kid. So, I looked it up, and seeing how long ago that was has made me feel extraordinarily old. Co-writing this piece with a guy who was born in 2010 or whatever isn’t helping.

McKenzie: “It’s Wednesday Night Hockey on ESPN live from the Dairy Queen Delta Center featuring the Colorado Avalanche and the Utah Blizzard! I’m Bob Wischusen alongside Ryan Callahan! We’re in for a frosty night between these two rivals!”

Get the Dairy Queen CEO on the phone.

6. Utah Venom

McIndoe: 7

McKenzie: 3

McKenzie: Venom? Like the anti-hero from the Spider-Man universe? I don’t hate the name. It just doesn’t scream “Utah” to me.

McIndoe: I’ll preface this by saying that I know this is some sort of comic book thing. But I have no idea what so I’m not letting that color my judgment either way. I’ll just say that while I’m not a huge fan of singular names for pro sports teams, I’m not completely against the idea. Smith really seems to be stacking the deck to get one name in particular. If so, this one’s fine. It’s reasonably unique, dangerous without being ridiculous, and would probably sound cool to little kids. Is it better than “Scorpions,” which would be my pick if I was doing this? No, but nobody asked me.

7. Utah Fury

McIndoe: 2

McKenzie: 2

McIndoe: Worst-case scenario, everyone pretends this says “Furry” and makes the same uncomfortable jokes for years. The best case is … what, you evoke a general sense of palpable anger? This just doesn’t work. It makes what should be a cool hockey team sound like Tyson Fury’s accountant younger brother.

McKenzie: Fury also doesn’t do it for me. This wouldn’t even cut it if I was making a team from scratch on the latest EA Sports NHL video game. What would the logo even be? Just the face of someone looking angry? And yeah, Sean’s right, no thank you for the “fury/furry” jokes.

8. Utah Ice

McIndoe: 2

McKenzie: 1

McIndoe: Absolutely not. This is so bad that I’m assuming it’s only being included because Smith has a name he wants to see win, and he’s going to make sure it matches up against Ice in his bracket. Yes, hockey has ice, good for you figuring that out. But we don’t name pro sports teams after the playing surface. I’m generally not a big fan of two-word names, but if you insist on working “ice” into this one then at least use it as a modifier to a real name. Have you considered the Ice Scorpions?

McKenzie: Hell no to this name. I don’t even think it’d be cool to say “Let’s kick some ice” as a way to belittle them. Can Ryan Smith please buy the Grizzlies moniker off the ECHL franchise? That’s my real No. 1 pick.

(Top photo of Connor Ingram and Clayton Keller: Norm Hall / NHLI via Getty Images)