Utah could soon become the home of another major sports team. Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), which owns the NBA franchise Utah Jazz, recently announced plans to bring the NHL team to the state.
SEG placed a formal request to the NHL, stating that the new team would play their home games at Jazz’s Delta Center with plans to build a new arena, which would be designed for “professional and Olympic hockey. “
Ryan Smith, CEO of SEG, confirmed that the company requested the “Initiation of Formal Expansion Process” in a post on his social media.
“SEG envisions a near future where the NHL will thrive in Utah, and we are 100% focused on making this happen as soon as possible,” Smith said in a statement.
NHL also acknowledged SEG’s plans with a statement of their own, saying that they have been “impressed” by Jazz owners and their commitment to bring an NHL team to Utah.
“Utah is a promising market, and we look forward to continuing our discussions,” the league added.
After SEG’s intentions were made public, rumors began swirling that the Arizona Coyotes, who still don’t have a permanent home, could be candidates for relocation to Utah. The Coyotes were bounced out of Gila River Arena after the city of Glendale decided to opt out of the lease. This forced the franchise to play their home games at the Arizona State campus, and plans to build a new arena seemed to have been stalled.
For his part, Smith told ESPN that he isn’t picky about whether he gets an existing team to Utah or gets to start with an expansion franchise.