NHL

Chances For NHL To Salt Lake City Continually Growing

May 18, 2023, 10:11 AM | Updated: 10:53 am

SALT LAKE CITY – It was inevitable when Salt Lake started hosting LA Kings pre-season games at Vivint Arena (soon to be Delta Center), that the talk of actually having a team here would take off. But how close are we to having the NHL in Salt Lake City?

Various rumors swirled and fans latched on in an attempt to will them into reality. Rumors initially started with AHL and then expanded “What if…NHL?”

And then things started happening like Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith reportedly meeting with the NHL commissioner and tweeting semi-cryptic updates in response to KSL Sports Anchor Sam Farnsworth.

RELATED: Report: NHL Commissioner Met With Jazz Owner Ryan Smith

And with that, it feels like Salt Lake City, home to the NBA’s Utah Jazz, may soon be welcoming a new sports franchise to its ranks: an NHL team.

Will The NHL Come To Salt Lake City?

The prospect of bringing professional hockey to the capital of Utah has gained considerable momentum recently, Smith’s meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his intriguing tweet only adds fuel to the fire.

The recent success of the newest expansion teams, the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Seattle Kraken, shows that other markets are itching for a chance to get a taste of NHL hockey.

The Wasatch Front has a strong hockey community with a rich history of grassroots development. The state of Utah has produced a few notable NHL players, like two-time Stanley Cup winner Trevor Lewis. The city is also home to the Utah Grizzlies, an ECHL team with a dedicated fan base.

RELATED: Jazz Owner Ryan Smith Hints NHL To Utah ‘In Motion’

Utah’s Hockey Roots

The presence of a professional hockey team would not only provide more opportunities for local players but also give fans a chance to rally behind a team of their own, enhancing the overall growth and popularity of the sport in the region.

Meanwhile, Houston has also set its sights on securing an NHL team. With a population of over 2 million and a rich sports culture, the city has been eagerly exploring the possibility of adding professional hockey to its roster of major sports franchises. Led by local investors and backed by a passionate fan base, Houston’s bid presents a compelling case for the NHL’s expansion into the Texan market.

Arizona Coyotes Out?

Recent events surrounding the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes have raised eyebrows and presented an opportunity for Salt Lake City or Houston to seize.

The Coyotes’ bid for a new arena in the Phoenix area faced a significant setback when a recent vote by the Arizona Legislature denied public funding for the project. This turn of events has left the Coyotes’ future in Arizona uncertain, opening up the possibility of relocation or expansion into new markets, including Salt Lake City.

The Coyotes are currently playing in Arizona State University’s 5000-seat arena.

Smith and Salt Lake City have a building that could host games starting as early as next season – though the Delta Center isn’t an ideal hockey venue, it could certainly serve as an interim location.

Although Salt Lake City isn’t the only market vying for a chance to bring an NHL team to their area, chances are odds to improve. Between the drama in Arizona, Smith’s meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and the success of the yearly Salt Lake City shootout called the Frozen Fury, there’s reason to be optimistic about the prospect of an NHL team coming to Salt Lake City.

Utah Puck Report is a podcast all about Utah hockey, from interviews with NHL stars to which Grizzlies players are about to take the next step, Utah Puck Report has everything for a Utah hockey fan. Find it wherever you find podcasts or on KSLSports.com. The show is hosted by KSL Sports’ hockey insider, Jay Stevens.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

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Chances For NHL To Salt Lake City Continually Growing