BUDAPEST, Hungary -- A fresh start and an excited environment already has members of Utah’s new NHL team buzzing.

"The move will bring buzz around the team," forward Dylan Guenther said from Budapest on Thursday while preparing with Canada for the 2024 IIHF World Championship in Prague, Czechia. "I know the people of Utah and the Salt Lake (City) area are super excited to have a hockey team. They don't have a ton of pro sports there. They have basketball, which has been sold out for 300 games in a row or something. I know there'll be some buzz around the team and a little bit of momentum we can take into it.

"I think to have that excitement around and have that buzz and to be able to play in front of a fan base that can't wait for hockey there is something that we're looking forward to."

Players have quickly taken to the notion of a team in Utah after the NHL’s Board of Governors voted on April 18 to establish a team there beginning with the 2024-25 season. The franchise consists of a transfer of the Arizona Coyotes hockey assets.

Utah had 29,000 season-ticket deposits as of April 25, a figure calculated one day after 12,400 fans showed up to an event welcoming the players and team.

"It's obviously nice to know and we were able to get down there to Salt Lake and see everything, the facilities, and it was pretty exciting," forward Jack McBain said. "The fans seemed excited and that's awesome.

"It was really cool. They did an amazing job putting that event on and the fans really came out and really supported us, which was really cool. They had people lined up outside the rink at 7, 8 a.m. and we didn't get out there until 4 (p.m.). We were just going to introduce ourselves. It was a really cool experience for us. It kind of got us excited to get in there next year and play. It was really cool.

"It's nice to get everything out of the way and be able to move forward and drive on."

Voting opens for Utah's new team name

Utah will start next season with 16,200 seats for hockey. It will be renovated to host 17,500 for hockey over the course of the next couple of years.

"To see all the people over there and how excited they are and how much enthusiasm there is in the city and the ownership and everything ... Arizona was great to us, but now I think it's a new start," coach Andre Tourigny said. "It's a new beginning in a place where people are really excited to see us.

"We went through a whole bunch of emotions. It's not an easy situation because there were a lot of unknowns in the situation. It was a lot of emotion, but everything's been done with class and respect. The transition has been smooth."

Fans can help with that transition with a vote via an online poll run by Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), owner of the franchise, to decide its new name.

For 2024-25, the team's inaugural season, the club will wear jerseys that display “Utah.” The team name will be implemented for the 2025-26 season, along with the logo, mascot and colors.

"I think just moving there, everyone kind of has a fresh start and building from the ground up again," McBain said. "It'll be a lot of fun just to get in there with the fans and get into the rink and get playing. Hopefully we'll have a good year there."

For more information about NHL in Utah, click here.

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