February 25th, 2024

Jazz owner requests for NHL to initiate expansion process to bring franchise to Utah

By The Canadian Press on January 24, 2024.

The parent company that owns the NBA's Utah Jazz and Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake has requested for the NHL to initiate an expansion process with the goal of bringing a franchise to Utah. Fans pose below the NHL league logo at a display outside Falcon Stadium before an NHL Stadium Series outdoor hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche, at Air Force Academy, Colo., Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski

SALT LAKE CITY – The owners of the NBA’s Utah Jazz have requested the NHL initiate an expansion process to bring a franchise to Utah.

Smith Entertainment Group, which also owns Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, says it has made clear to the NHL its immediate ability to welcome a franchise with Salt Lake City’s Delta Center serving as an interim home arena.

SEG says Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith have been in discussions with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman since early 2022 about the prospects of bringing a team to Utah.

The NHL called Utah a promising market and said it looked forward to continuing discussions in a statement released after SEG’s formal request.

If approved, SEG says the hockey team would either play at Delta Center – also home of the Jazz – on a temporary basis or begin play in the next several years upon completion of a new arena. Ryan Smith says Utah will need an arena designed for professional and Olympic hockey.

League expansion must be approved by the NHL’s Board of Governors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2024.

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