Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
NHL Notebook: League asked to begin expansion process by NBA Utah Jazz’s ownership, and Oliver Kylington returns to Calgary Flames lineup
By Zach Laing29 days ago
The owners of the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz have requested the NHL begin the expansion process as they look to bring a professional hockey team to Salt Lake City.
In a letter penned to the league, the Smith Entertainment Group, led by Ryan Smith, who is the chairman of the group and governor of the Jazz, said they have been in discussions about Utah as a viable location with the NHL for nearly two years.
“SEG envisions a near future where the NHL will thrive in Utah, and we are 100 percent focused on making this happen as soon as possible,” said SEG president Ryan Smith. “We are passionate about sports and entertainment in the state and are committed to providing premium sports and entertainment experiences for the people of Utah and visitors from around the world.
“We are ready to welcome the NHL and are confident that the time and attention being spent by all parties will bring one of the most exciting and dynamic leagues in the world to our community on a permanent basis.”
Their plan, in the short term, would be to have an NHL franchise play out of the Delta Arena, home of the Jazz, with future plans for a hockey arena in the future.
In a statement of their own, the league said they had been impressed with the SEG’s commitment.
“The NHL appreciates the interest expressed by Smith Entertainment Group to bring NHL hockey to Utah,” a statement from the league said. “During conversations over the course of the past two years, we have been impressed by Ryan and Ashley Smith’s commitment to their community and their passion and vision for Utah, not only as a hockey market, but as a preeminent sports and entertainment destination. Utah is a promising market, and we look forward to continuing our discussions.”
The state of Utah, landlocked in the mountainous region of the western United States, has been home to the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies since 2005 located in West Valley City, a 20-minute drive from Salt Lake City. In Utah, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles played in the Western Hockey League, Central Professional League and International Hockey League between 1969 and 1994, as affiliates of multiple NHL franchises.
Utah also hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and are vying as a host city for the 2030 Winter Olympics, with a host city to be selected on July 23rd, 2024.
THE NHL NOTEBOOK IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
Calgary Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington will lace up his skates for his first NHL game since May 2022 on Thursday, as the club takes on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The 26-year-old missed all of the 2022-23 season, and the first half of this year, battling mental health issues.
Drafted by the team 60th overall in the 2015 draft, Kylington has appeared in 168 NHL games scoring 14 goals and 47 points, while adding another 28 tallies and 91 points in 192 AHL games. He arrived in North America ahead of the 2015-16 season, spending his first three seasons in the AHL, before playing 38 NHL games in 2018-19. He played another 48 the following year, but appeared in just eight games in the organization in 2020-21.
He retuned to Calgary weeks ago, skating on his own before playing in two games with the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers, scoring no points.
He’s slated to make his return on the Flames’ third pairing alongside defenceman Jordan Oesterle, who went undrafted but signed with the Edmonton Oilers in April 2014. Oesterle played in the Oilers organization through the 2016-17 season, before signing with the Chicago Blackhawks, later traded to the Arizona Coyotes.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
Recent articles from Zach Laing