Utah Grizzlies VP Tells Fans ‘Minor League Hockey Isn’t Going Away’ Amid NHL Rumors

Mar 21, 2024, 11:48 AM | Updated: 7:27 pm

Maverik Center, home of the Utah Grizzlies before a game...

Utah Grizzlies - Maverik Center

SALT LAKE CITY – With NHL to Utah rumors flying, many hockey fans are wondering what would happen to the Utah Grizzlies?

Vice President of the Grizz, Jared Youngman, joined the Puck Report podcast to talk about the team’s current push for the ECHL playoffs and offer fans some reassurance on minor league hockey staying in Utah, even if an NHL team comes to town.

The push for an NHL team in Salt Lake City is led by Utah Jazz owner Smith, who recently said Utah is ready for a team “now.” 

RELATED: Ryan Smith, SEG Formally Requests NHL Expansion Team To Utah

What Will Happen To The Grizzlies If NHL Comes To Utah?

While no one can say for sure what could happen to the Utah Grizzlies if the NHL comes to Utah, recently NHL teams have set a precedence of buying a team in the city and making that the AHL feeder team.

When it comes to the structure of hockey, you can think of ECHL and AHL as minor leagues, with ECHL being a step lower than AHL which both serve as feeders to NHL teams. Currently, the Grizzlies are affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche whose AHL affiliate is the Eagles in Loveland, Colorado.

“It’s all going to come down to the ownership situation … it’s the communication and putting points in place to say ‘hey, we’ve got a building,'” Youngman said. “We’ve had AHL before (formerly Grizzlies), we could put AHL back in there.”

The Grizzlies have the added benefit of already having an arena – The Maverik Center.

“I don’t see us going away, I don’t see minor league hockey going away,” Youngman said. “Whether we stay in the ECHL or move up to the American Hockey League … hockey is going to be at the Maverik Center, I don’t see that changing.”

Hockey Grows, So Do Grizzlies’ Ticket Sales

Ticket sales are up for the Grizz. Youngam said that’s partly thanks to more fans coming to the games and telling their friends and family how much fun it is to go to a hockey game.

He also credits the increased interest in hockey to excitement around the potential of Utah getting an NHL team.

RELATED: Answering The Most Asked Questions Regarding NHL Coming To Utah

“To watch a hockey game live, it’s fast-paced action, it’s hard-hitting… absolutely the best there is,” Youngman described what it’s like to watch hockey live.

When asked whether or not all the NHL to Utah talk was helping to drive ticket sales, Youngman said, “Absolutely … anytime we are talking hockey it is definatly a good thing.”

But he was also quick to credit incredible work from the Utah Grizzlies staff.

More On Utah Puck Report

On the epsisode, Youngman and Stevens also discussed the importance youth hockey in the state, John Stockton driving the Zamboni and how every game matters for the Grizz right now.

You can listen to full epsisode and subscribe to the show here. 

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. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram. 

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Utah Grizzlies VP Tells Fans ‘Minor League Hockey Isn’t Going Away’ Amid NHL Rumors