NHL

Pat McAfee Speaks On Love For Hockey In Salt Lake City

Nov 1, 2023, 3:40 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm

pat mcafee hosting daily show salt lake city utah hockey nhl gary bettman...

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 09: Former NFL player and host Pat McAfee speaks on radio row ahead of Super Bowl LVII at the Phoenix Convention Center on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – On The Pat McAfee Show, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman listened to Pat McAfee talk about the love for hockey in Salt Lake City.

McAfee visited Utah last weekend for the Utes’ home matchup with the Oregon Ducks.

“We were just in Salt Lake this past weekend,” McAfee said. “The amount of people that came up and were like, ‘we love hockey here’. That ‘Hockey Is Awesome’ segment is up there.”

McAfee mentioned Utah in his NHL conversation because of the lack of interest surrounding the Arizona Coyotes.

“We went to the Jazz game. 251 straight sellouts. 18,000 people in that place. Those cities see what’s happening in Phoenix and they think it’s a crime almost,” McAfee said.

RELATED: Pat McAfee Attends Utah Jazz Home Game Against Los Angeles Clippers

McAfee basically suggested to Bettman that other places, like SLC, could be more invested in a local NHL franchise.

Bettman’s response was simple. The Coyotes need a new arena and the NHL is not pushing for expansion at this time.

Ryan Smith Meets NHL Commissioner

Ryan Smith met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman earlier this year according to Elliotte Friedman.

The article written by Friedman, a leading hockey insider for SportsNet Canada, detailed the interest between the NHL and the Jazz’s Smith. The meeting came after the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting last Tuesday in New York.

“That night, according to multiple sources, Bettman had dinner with Ryan Smith, owner of the Utah Jazz,” Friedman wrote. “This is one to watch. When Fenway bought the Penguins, Smith was rumoured as another potential purchaser. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I was told to keep his name on my radar. Smith is interested in the NHL — and the NHL is very interested in him.”

 

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Last October, Smith announced Arctos Sports Partners was buying a minority share in the Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), the entity that owns the Jazz, and hoped to bring a fifth professional sports team to the state of Utah.

Smith didn’t reveal which major sports league the group was eyeing. Sources told KSL Sports that the NHL was the league most likely to expand into the state.

“Salt Lake City hosted the excellent 2002 Winter Olympics and is considered the favorite to do it again in 2030. That could lead to new facilities, including a future home for the NBA team and an NHL brother.”

“A very, very sharp guy, [Smith] and New Jersey Devils co-owner David Blitzer are majority partners in MLS Real Salt Lake and, earlier this month, announced the return of a NWSL franchise to the city,” Friedman added.

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Pat McAfee Speaks On Love For Hockey In Salt Lake City