Ryan Smith’s Promise Fulfilled As Fans Welcome NHL Team To Utah

Apr 25, 2024, 2:55 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Fans packed the Delta Center and officially welcomed Utah’s NHL team to fulfill Ryan Smith’s promise that the state would “show up” for hockey.

Utah welcomes new NHL team

One week after the Arizona Coyotes played their final game of the season, the Smith Entertainment Group hosted a welcome party in downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 24.

RELATED: League Approves New NHL Team In Utah, Owned By Ryan, Ashley Smith

Thousands of fans showed up hours before the event, waited in line, and eventually filled the Delta Center to welcome Utah’s NHL team after relocation from the Grand Canyon State.

So many people showed up for the event that the arena’s staff had to close the doors and refused entry to many waiting outside.

@kslsportscom Ryan Smith said Utahns would “show up” for hockey. 🤯 #NHLinUtah #NHL ♬ original sound – kslsports

Ryan Smith’s promise on NHL in Utah

Earlier in April, Smith told KSL Sports that Utahns would “show up” for NHL hockey.

“I have a ton of faith in Utah. Utahns show up,” Smith told KSL Sports of his drive to bring an NHL team to Utah. “Everyone keeps telling us why we can’t, but if you want these things to happen, you have to take advantage of the moments.”

On Wednesday night, Utah did just that and it gave its NHL franchise an excellent first impression.

@kslsportscom Utah!!! #NHLinUtah #NHL ♬ original sound – kslsports

Welcome to Utah, NHL

The arena was loud before the event began. It got even louder as players, coaches, and front office personnel stepped onto the rink inside the venue.

After the celebration got underway, Smith and his wife, Ashley, took the stage, welcomed the team, and thanked fans for showing up.

Smith said the team received 29,000 deposits for season tickets in less than a week of owning the franchise. He praised the fans as the reason for the team being in Utah.

“The NHL chose Utah,” Smith told the crowd.

Following the Smiths, general manager Bill Armstrong and head coach André Tourigny spoke.

“Utah, you touched my heart today. You have no idea what that means to us. We will pay you back for all of that emotion you gave us today,” Armstrong said.

“We cannot wait to feed off of your energy next year,” Tourigny added.

Lastly, the players talked to the crowd that was there to welcome them to the Beehive State.

Each player stood to a round of applause and cheers. While their messages were short, a common theme was present for all of them, they were excited to be in Utah.

“Ever since our plane touched down, we’ve felt nothing but love and support from you guys,” Lawson Crouse told the crowd.

The NHL club is in the early stages of its journey in Utah. However, one thing proved sure on Wednesday evening — Utah shows up.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. Listen to Ireland on Yards After College: An NFL Podcast. Follow him on X (@kyleireland), Threads (@kyleirelandksl), and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Ryan Smith’s Promise Fulfilled As Fans Welcome NHL Team To Utah