Ryan Smith appeared on “The Pat McAfee Show” Monday to talk about Utah’s new hockey team, ticket sales and the importance of saying yes to crazy ideas.

That last piece of wisdom came up near the beginning of the interview, when host Pat McAfee asked Smith about having an unexpected opportunity to purchase an existing NHL franchise.

“I’ve learned with these things that when big stuff comes along ... first of all, it’s probably never a good time, and second, don’t blink. Just say yes. Let’s go. We’re going to figure it out,” Smith said.

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Smith and his team are in the midst of figuring things out right now, as around 80 people who used to be part of the Arizona Coyotes look to start a new adventure in Salt Lake City.

Smith acknowledged that the road ahead will be bumpy but that he’s confident that the NHL team will be a success if the Utah community welcomes players and support staff with open arms.

“It’s daunting. We’re not going to be perfect. There’s no way we can be perfect. (But) we’re ready to go,” he said.

Here’s a look at what else Smith said on “The Pat McAfee Show.”

On ticket sales

Smith told McAfee that there have been about 27,000 deposits made for season tickets so far. His team is hoping that the arena, which will hold around 16,000 people per game next season, will be full.

Only 400 of the first 6,000 ticket requests that came in were from season ticket holders for the Utah Jazz, Smith said.

“People are going to show up,” he said.

On team branding

Smith included naming the team on the list of tasks that need to be handled sometime soon.

With the help of Qualtrics, Smith Entertainment Group plans to host a bracket-style competition that will allow Utah hockey fans to choose the new name.

“We’re going to take it from eight (options) all the way down. Fans are going to vote for this,” Smith said on “The Pat McAfee Show.”

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On welcoming the team to Utah


Smith told McAfee that he had a chance to meet with his new team in Arizona last week.

“I was like, ‘It’s all us. This is who we got, so let’s go make it work and let’s go roll,’” Smith recounted.

Around 80 players and team staffers will be in Utah Wednesday to explore housing options and discuss how day-to-day operations will work, Smith said.

They’ll then gather with hockey fans at the Delta Center for a welcome party.

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