Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith’s pursuit of an NHL team is ‘in motion’

Smith indicates on Twitter that he wants to bring a top-level hockey franchise to the Beehive State

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ryan Smith talks about the return of the Utah Royals, during a news conference, on Saturday, March 11, 2023.

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith has been at the helm of Utah’s NBA team going on three years. He bought Real Salt Lake in January 2022 in partnership with Philadelphia 76ers owner David Blitzer.

Now, Smith indicated via Twitter on Saturday that he’s trying to bring yet another professional sports league into the Beehive State.

A sports anchor for KSL tweeted about the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs and how exciting he thinks they’ve been. In the same tweet, he made a plea to Smith.

“Stanley Cup Playoffs always delivers!” Sam Farnsworth posted. “PLEAAAAAASE bring this to Utah, @RyanQualtrics!”

In just a little more than a half-hour, Smith replied with a mere two words: “In motion.”

Smith’s tweet in response to Farnsworth appears to be a confirmation that he’s seriously looking into bringing pro hockey to Utah.

Late last month, a report came out that Smith met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after an NBA Board of Governors meeting in New York. The report came from Elliotte Friedman of Canada’s SportsNet, who indicated mutual interest between Smith and the NHL.

“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 said in his article at the time.

Smith Entertainment Group last year added private equity firm Arctos Sports Partners as a minority investor in hopes of exploring bringing another professional team to Utah. The goal was to bring a sport the state doesn’t already have, leaving the possibilities as football, baseball and hockey.

The Larry H. Miller Group, which used to own the Jazz, recently launched a bid for an MLB expansion franchise.

Utah has been home to the Grizzlies — a minor league affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche — since 1995.