Ryan Smith Wants An NHL Team In Salt Lake City

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The NHL expansion process has started.

Is the National Hockey League ready to add a 33rd team or could one of its teams that is in desperate need of finding a new arena make its way to Salt Lake City? The Smith Entertainment Group has sent a request into the NHL’s New York City headquarters to “initiate an expansion process” in an attempt to get an expansion franchise for the Salt Lake City market. Ryan Smith, who heads up the Smith Entertainment Group, has been speaking informally with the NHL’s New York brass and feels now is the time to start the process of bringing a team to Utah. SEG officials say they’re open to either an expansion franchise or being a landing spot for a relocated one. Two franchise owners one in Ottawa and one in Phoenix, are looking for new arenas.

Smith would need a new arena for an NHL franchise although a Salt Lake City team could play in the 32-year-old venue that really was built for basketball in town. Smith does have a plan to build a new arena for his National Basketball Association Utah Jazz business. The NHL for its part has welcomed Smith’s interest to bring a franchise to the Salt Lake City market by releasing a statement of encouragement. “The NHL appreciates the interest expressed by Smith Entertainment Group to bring NHL hockey to Utah. During conversations over the course of the past two years, we have been impressed by Ryan and Ashley Smith’s commitment to their community and their passion and vision for Utah, not only as a hockey market, but as a preeminent sports and entertainment destination. Utah is a promising market, and we look forward to continuing our discussions.” Smith’s group is of the opinion the relatively strong Utah economy and Utah’s young population would be factors in getting the NHL’s attention.

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Ryan Smith wants an NHL team in Salt Lake City