Jazz Owners Begin Expansion for NHL Franchise in Salt Lake City

‣ The Jazz owners have formally requested to initiate the process to bring an NHL team to Salt Lake City, Utah. The Smith Entertainment Group, owned by Ryan Smith, is committed to making this happen as soon as possible.
‣ The company plans to use Jazz’s arena as an interim home for the hockey franchise while it grows. The NHL has responded positively to the proposal, praising the Smiths’ commitment to their community and their vision for Utah as a sports and entertainment destination.
‣ Utah governor Spencer Cox believes the state’s strong economy, young and active population, passionate sports fans, and history with hockey make it a natural choice for an NHL expansion. Salt Lake City is also currently bidding to host the 2034 Winter Olympics.


You read that right! The Jazz owners are gearing up to bring an NHL team to Salt Lake City, Utah. They’ve officially kicked off the expansion process. The Smith Entertainment Group, helmed by Ryan Smith, has stated that they’re fully committed to making this a reality as soon as possible.

The SEO has the capacity to introduce a hockey franchise to the midwestern state immediately. They’re planning to use Jazz’s arena as a temporary home while the franchise gets on its feet.

This plan first came to light at the beginning of 2022. The NHL expressed their appreciation for the proposal at the time and promised to guide them through the necessary steps.

The Salt Lake Tribune tweeted about the news. “BREAKING: Smith Entertainment Group has formally requested the NHL “initiate an expansion process” that would bring another hockey franchise to Utah. That proposal includes plans to build a new arena.”

The league has been impressed by Ryan and Ashley Smith’s dedication to their community over the past two years. They’ve admired their passion and vision for Utah, not just as a hockey market, but as a leading sports and entertainment destination. The NHL sees Utah as a promising market and is excited to continue discussions.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly has previously stated that the NHL wasn’t overly concerned about expanding. The league already has 32 teams, including recent additions in Seattle and Las Vegas. Commissioner Gary Bettman shared his thoughts on the matter. “You look at the market, ownership, arena, and whether it strengthens the league,” he said. “The last two expansions, Vegas and Seattle, have certainly made the league stronger.”

Bettman also discussed the Coyote’s situation in Arizona. “We’re better equipped to resist relocation than we were 20 or 30 years ago,” he said. “We want to exhaust all options at this stage before considering relocating a club. I’m hopeful we won’t have to.”

Utah’s governor, Spencer Cox, explained why the state is well-suited to become a strong market for hockey. He cited the state’s robust economy, youthful and active population, passionate sports fans, and history with hockey as key factors. The fact that Salt Lake City is currently bidding to host the 2034 Winter Olympics is another compelling reason.

“With the Olympic bid underway, our reputation as a top winter sports capital, and with the proven leadership of Ryan and Ashley Smith and SEG in our community, I am extremely optimistic about the future of Utah,” the governor said.

Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Olympics, which included NHL athletes. There’s already a team playing in the ECHL division in the West Valley City’s suburbs. “There is so much momentum happening at the state level around global sports and sports infrastructure,” Smith said. “While Delta Center is ready to serve as an interim solution for an NHL team, Utah will need a new arena designed for professional and Olympic hockey.”

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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