Smith Entertainment Group has finalised an agreement to establish an NHL franchise in Utah, following the approved transfer of the Arizona Coyotes’ franchise in April.

Owned by Smith Entertainment Group, the Utah franchise will be led by Ryan and Ashley Smith. As the community votes on the team’s official name, for the 2024/25 season, the franchise will be known as the Utah Hockey Club.

Ryan Smith, commented: “Today is a monumental day for the state of Utah as we officially close on the establishment of a new NHL franchise. The NHL has been incredible to work with throughout this process, providing us with invaluable guidance and support. We have a ton of work to do – training camp starts in less than 100 days – and could not be more excited about what’s to come.”

In partnership with the design firm Doubleday & Cartwright, Utah’s NHL franchise has unveiled its identity for the 2024/25 season. 

The colour palette features Rock Black, symbolising the darkness of mountain nights and the volcanic rock of Utah’s deserts; Salt White, inspired by the snow-capped peaks and the renowned salt flats; and Mountain Blue, reflecting Utah’s deep ties to winter sports and clear skies.

This colour theme aligns with Utah Jazz, the State’s basketball team, which is also owned by the Smith Entertainment Group.

In terms of uniforms, the team’s home kit will be Rock Black with “UTAH” across the chest in stairstep lettering, featuring Salt White and Mountain Blue striping on each arm, at the bottom of the jersey and on the socks. 

The away uniform will be Salt White with “UTAH” across the chest in the same stairstep lettering, complemented by Rock Black and Mountain Blue striping on the sleeves and socks.

At the 2024 NHL Draft, Utah’s inaugural draft picks will wear an exclusive, all-black NHL authentic jersey with the UTAH stairstep logo, consistent with the team’s 2024/25 season uniforms.

The franchise has announced that fans can purchase team apparel for the first time at the team’s store at Delta Center, during the team’s free-to-attend 2024 NHL Draft Party on 28 June. The 2024/25 uniforms will be available for purchase in Autumn this year.

The new franchise comes after a challenging period for the Arizona Coyotes, which had been in search of a permanent home since relocating from Winnipeg, where the franchise initially shared an arena with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Later, it moved to Glendale, but eventually settled at Mullett Arena after Glendale withdrew from a lease agreement.

The NHL and the players’ association expressed concerns about the Coyotes continuing to play at the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena for a third season. This ultimately prompted Alex Meruelo to decide to sell the team.

Under the terms of the sale, Meruelo retained the Coyotes’ name, logo and trademark and was given the option to reactivate if he constructed a new, modern facility suitable for an NHL team within five years.

At the time of the sale, Meruelo said: “I agree with Commissioner Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League, that it is simply unfair to continue to have our players, coaches, hockey front office, and the NHL teams they compete against, spend several more years playing in an arena that is not suited for NHL hockey. But this is not the end for NHL hockey in Arizona.”

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