Utah Unbranded: Coyotes’ New Chapter as Utah Hockey Club

Category

Branding

Read Time

4 min

Published

23 June, 2024

In big news for NHL fans, the Arizona Coyotes franchise has been purchased and moved to Utah by Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz.

Not only that, but they have a new temporary name: The Utah Hockey Club.

This move is another case of “unbranding” or “non-branding” — allowing the team to compete in the league, while fans and club alike settle on a permanent name.

Utah Hockey Club Jersey Mockup Option 2

Temporary Branding: Utah Hockey Club’s New Look

Smith Entertainment Group (SEG) unveiled the temporary name, colours, and jerseys for Utah’s NHL team.

Owner Ryan Smith, who also owns the Utah Jazz, calls it a monumental day for Utah.

The branding strategy echoes that of the Washington Football Team before becoming the Commanders:

Simple start. Rebrand later.

The initial Utah Hockey Club branding was revealed just in time for the NHL draft. It features three colours: Rock Black, Salt White, and Mountain Blue.

The team will sport “Utah” on their sweaters for the 2024-25 season. The primary logo? A blue circle with “Utah Hockey Club.”

Utah Hockey Club logo design in a blue circle

The primary logo is “Utah Hockey Club” in a blue circle, accompanied by two wordmarks and a state-shaped logo.

When they hit the ice for the 2024-25 season, Utah players will wear predominantly black jerseys at home with a Utah diagonal wordmark and white and blue stripes. Away jerseys will be trimmed with blue and black stripes on a white background.

It’s simple. People aren’t going to love it. But it’s purposefully bland.

It gives them a chance to build their brand identity from the ground up, with their fans onside.

Utah Hockey Club logo design with state background shape

The Creative Touch: Doubleday & Cartwright’s Influence

SEG has worked with creative consultancy Doubleday & Cartwright to develop the temporary brand.

This collaboration will continue as they refine the team’s permanent identity.

Doubleday & Cartwright is known for their successful rebranding of Inter Miami CF, David Beckham’s football club, showcasing their expertise in creating compelling sports brands and identities.

The relocation of the Coyotes to Utah and their temporary rebranding as the Utah Hockey Club is a strategic move that mirrors the state’s sports history.

Just like the Utah Jazz before them, the hockey team is set to carve out its niche and create a new legacy in the Beehive State.

Utah Hockey Club logo design in a blue rectangle

Building a Future: The Path Ahead for Utah Hockey Club

The team’s temporary identity lets them start strong while fans choose the route forward.

SEG promises a complete brand reveal for the 2025-26 season.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman welcomed Utah to the NHL.

Gary Bettman expressed his excitement about the new team, emphasising the growth and potential the move brings to the NHL and Utah. With their (possibly) temporary identity in place, the Utah Hockey Club is ready to make a splash.

Why’s it only possibly temporary?

Well, fan voting for the permanent team name features six finalists, including Utah Hockey Club:

  • Utah Blizzard
  • Utah Yeti
  • Utah Venom
  • Utah Mammoth
  • Utah Outlaws
  • Utah Hockey Club

The final decision will shape the team’s identity for years to come.

This approach to creating their brand allows the team to build a strong connection with fans from the start. By involving the community in the brand naming process, the Utah Hockey Club ensures they get off on the right foot, creating a loyal fanbase that’s ready to support them.

Utah Hockey Club Jersey Mockup Option 1

And remember:

This isn’t SEG’s first rodeo. Remember when the New Orleans Jazz moved to Utah? They kept the name, though it didn’t make as much sense in Utah.

Jazz works for a team based in New Orleans, but not so well for a team based in Salt Lake City.

His ownership of both the Jazz and now the Utah Hockey Club highlights his strategic approach to sports branding.

Just like the Jazz’s seamless transition to a new market, the Utah Hockey Club aims to integrate smoothly into Utah’s sports culture.

From innovative branding to strategic fan engagement, the Utah Hockey Club is ready to hit the ice and make an impact in the world of hockey.

Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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