Ryan Smith addresses NHL to Utah rumors

The Utah Jazz owner spoke at a World Congress of Sports event Wednesday.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith speaks with Gary Vaynerchuck during the Silicon Slopes Summit at the Delta Center, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023.

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith may have broken his own news when speaking at World Congress of Sports event Wednesday.

Smith was asked a question about the swirling rumors that an NHL team is on its way to the Beehive State. Not only did he answer the question, but he said the now-hardly-quiet part out loud.

“There’s no secret on what’s out there online,” Smith was quoted as saying by Sports Business Journal reporter Alex M. Silverman. “Normally, not everything on the internet is true, but in this case, it’s pretty true.”

It’s been rumored for about two weeks that the Arizona Coyotes will relocate to Salt Lake City after a years-long struggle to find a home arena. Multiple reports have stated the Coyotes players are expecting the move, that a vote by the NHL Board of Governors is imminent, and that an official announcement can be expected by the end of this week.

Smith also voiced confidence in the local fan base and teased facility developments for the future.

“I have incredible faith in the people of Utah,” Smith said, per a post on X by journalist Arash Markazi. “We show up. It’ll be backed. I’m excited about that and showing that. There’s so much work to do from the practice facility down to everything else but we’ll get it done.”

A separate report from Arizona sports radio host John Gambadoro said a news conference regarding the Coyotes’ sale to Smith is “still expected for Friday.” He added that the deal isn’t done yet, but it’s “getting closer” to finalization.

And earlier Wednesday, NHL insider Chris Johnson appeared on SportsCenter and said an official announcement should be coming from the league either Thursday or Friday.