Amidst seemingly ever-present talk lately that another Ryan Smith-owned professional sports team could come to Utah in at least the relatively near future, Smith reportedly met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman earlier this week.
According to a story by Canadian hockey reporter Elliotte Friedman on Friday, Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz, met with Bettman on Tuesday in New York after an NBA board of governors meeting.
“This is one to watch,” Friedman wrote, reporting that Smith was a potential bidder when the Pittsburgh Penguins were sold in late 2021.
“Obviously, that didn’t happen,” Friedman wrote of Smith getting the Penguins, “but I was told to keep his name on my radar, because he’s interested in the NHL — and the NHL is very interested in him.”
Friedman further noted that Smith’s Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC co-owner, David Blitzer, is the owner of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Friedman didn’t go into whether or not Smith might look to purchase a team outside Utah and then relocate it, but that would seem to be a logical move for Smith, who has expressed his deep love of the state on many occasions.
Friedman did note that Utah getting awarded another Winter Olympic Games could also build momentum for the NHL to come, particularly as it pertains to facilities being built.
“That could lead to new facilities, including a future home for the NBA team and an NHL brother,” Friedman wrote.
The Jazz and Utah Grizzlies shared the Delta Center for a number of years until the Grizzlies moved to the E Center (now the Maverik Center, which was built for the 2002 Olympics) in West Valley City in 2005.