NHL Notebook: Stan Kroenke-led group wants to bring NHL team to San Diego as ex-Oilers winger Anson Carter partners with hopeful expansion in Atlanta

Photo credit:Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
4 months ago
With the NHL eyeing a potential team in Salt Lake City, Utah, thanks to a strong push from potential ownership there, others in the business world are looking to bring pro hockey teams to their own cities.
It’s Ryan Smith, owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, leading the charge to bring hockey back to the Beehive State, but a group led by Stan Kroenke is hoping to bring the NHL to San Diego. Kroenke, 76, is the chairman and CEO of the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment Group based out of Denver, Colorado.
He got his start in the sports world in 1995, buying a stake in the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, before adding the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche to his portfolio in 2000. Since, he’s added six more clubs to his organization: the MLS’ Colorado Rapids, the NLL’s Colorado Mammoth, Arsenal F.C., Arsenal W.F.C, as well as pro eSports team the Los Angeles Gladiators (Overwatch) and the Los Angeles Guerrillas (Call of Duty).
He also leads The Kroenke Group, a massive real estate company that is heading a new project in the San Diego area called Midway Rising. The plan for the multi-purpose facility to house a “16,000-seat arena as the centerpiece of a 48.6-acre site that will be redeveloped with thousands of new housing units, a hotel, and retail space,” Front Office Sports reported last June. 
The plan, according to San Diego radio host Scott Kaplan, is for a new arena project in the area to be able to house an NHL team.
I’m going to be the first person to tell everybody this… but I’m telling you right now that the Stan Kroenke led group that is intending to build a new arena where the current sports arena sits, Stan Kroenke, with all his wealth, and all his connections to the NFL, to the NHL, NBA, and being a sports owner as influential as Stan Kroenke is, they are going to build a new arena in San Diego, at least that’s their intent and they’re the kind of people that obviously gets stuff done, and they’re planning on putting an NHL team in that arena.
Now, now they own the Colorado Avalanche, and I’m not suggesting to you that they’re going to move the Avalanche, hardly, and I’m not suggesting that they’re going to sell the Avalanche and put in a new team in that they’re going to own… Stan Kroenke’s top guy told me this past weekend they’re bringing the NHL to San Diego. So look, the Chargers took off, the Padres took over, the Wave came in, the women’s soccer team, Snapdragon Stadium was built, the new MLS team is coming, the Clippers are moving… into San Diego County a G League team.
And I’m telling you, that is has been told to me firsthand, I swear to you on this, they intend to bring an NHL hockey team to the new arena they intend to build in San Diego.

Don’t count out Atlanta

Utah and San Diego aren’t the only possible spots for NHL teams in the future, as a group is looking to bring hockey back to Georgia.
The group, Alpharetta Sports & Entertainment (ASE), has partnered with ex-Edmonton Oilers winger Anson Carter to help lead the charge. In a release sent Tuesday, Carter talked about how great it would be to bring a team to where he lives:
“I’ve lived in Atlanta since 2009,” Carter said. “I have no doubt that the best league in the world will thrive in its return to Metro Atlanta. The ASE Group is a hockey-first ownership team. I have been in dialogue with Commissioner [Gary] Bettman since 2019 about an expansion team returning to the Fulton County Metro Atlanta market.”
Carter also said the ASE group has partnered with Fortune 100 company New York Life, one of the largest life insurers in the world, to help build a multi-use development in Alpharetta, Georgia, a city located 26 miles north of Atlanta.
He’s been doing other work to help keep hockey in the area alive. Back in 2022, Carter became minority owner of the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators.
Atlanta has twice housed NHL franchises. First, the Atlanta Flames, who joined the NHL in 1972 before moving to Calgary in 1980, as well as the Atlanta Thrashers, who lasted from 1999 through 2011 before moving to Winnipeg.

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 zach@thenationnetwork.com.


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