Utah Takes Next Step for NHL Expansion
Interest of a professional Hockey team in Utah is not a new concept.
The Smith Entertainment Group, AKA Ryan Smith, AKA owner of the Utah Jazz, has been flirting with the NHL for multiple years now.
Like any bout of flirtatious behavior, it either leads to a relationship or an awkward final text message.
For the NHL and Ryan Smith, the relationship just became Facebook official.
The Smith Entertainment Group announced yesterday that they have “formerly requested” that the NHL gets things moving to establish a franchise under the Wasatch Mountains.
Gary Bettman and the NHL, not afraid to admit the feeling is mutual, released a statement themselves:
Of course, not wanting to take things too fast, this is a far cry from being a sure thing. Its basically both sides admitting they are willing to look into what the future may hold from both of them.
Multiple boxes still need to be checked and many steps will have to be taken in what will be a lengthy, but hopefully worthwhile process.
Smith Entertainment Group put themselves out there, opened up, and publicly asked for something that may or may not happen, but there’s likely a good reason for doing so as demonstrated by Scott Garrard:
If that supposed confidence yields results, then the Smith Group has the “immediate ability” as the statement reads to get professional hockey up and running.
Immediate in this case can be defined by “next season.”
The Delta Center would be a temporary home until a new state of the art arena could be established.
What that means for the future of the Jazz as far as home venue goes is to be determined, but one thing is certain, any new NHL team will need a new venue eventually.
There are currently 32 teams In the NHL and among them, the Arizona Coyotes have yet to announce a future home as they currently play on the campus of Arizona State in a stadium that seats 5,000.
Whether the NHL decides to expand to 34, relocate the Coyotes or stand PAT, expect Utah and Ryan Smith to be connected through it all as we now wait on the NHL and Gary Bettman to replicate Smith’s feelings.