The West may be getting a new NHL team

Published April 4, 2023 at 12:47

Ryan Smith, the owner of the NBA's Utah Jazz and with shares in MLS' Real Salt Lake and NWSL's Utah Royals, is reportedly interested in bringing an NHL franchise to Salt Lake City. According to sportsnet.ca's Elliotte Friedman, Smith recently had dinner with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, indicating his interest in owning an NHL team.

While the NHL's expansion plans are currently on hold, the possibility of relocating a team with financial or attendance issues to Salt Lake City could be a viable option. The area has a history of minor league hockey, with teams such as the Eagles and Grizzlies, and has hosted NHL exhibition games in the past.

However, the current venue for hockey, the Vivint Arena, has a limited capacity for hockey and the configuration of the arena is not ideal for hockey games. With Salt Lake City being considered as a potential host for the 2030 Winter Olympics, a new facility could be built to accommodate both the Jazz and an NHL team.

The Arizona Coyotes, facing financial difficulties and potential relocation, are one of the teams that could potentially move to Salt Lake City. If the Coyotes' plan to move to a new home in Tempe, Arizona fails, it could further increase the possibility of the team relocating to Utah.

While Bettman has expressed his desire to keep the Coyotes in Arizona, there is opposition to the proposed project, and the outcome of the May 16th vote remains uncertain.

Although there are still several factors to consider, the interest from Ryan Smith and the potential for a new facility make Salt Lake City a promising option for NHL expansion or relocation.
April 4   |   68 answers
The West may be getting a new NHL team

Will Salt Lake City get an NHL team?

No1522.1 %
Yes1319.1 %
Yes, but it may take 5-8 years1319.1 %
Please move the Coyotes here2739.7 %
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