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Ryan Smith is focusing on renovating the Delta Center for the NHL team instead of a new arena

The reconstruction plans for the Delta Center would allow for approximately 17,500 seats in a hockey configurationGetty Images

New NHL owner Ryan Smith said Friday he will pursue “massive reconstructive changes at the Delta Center,” making the Jazz arena “more hockey-friendly,” according to Andy Larsen of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Smith said his team is “pushing reconstruction plans for the downtown arena that would allow for approximately 17,500 seats in a hockey configuration.” Larsen noted that these construction plans would be “implemented over several summers.” The Delta Center currently seats 18,300 basketball fans. Smith said he believes the arena “will be able to accommodate 16,000 attendees by the time the NHL team plays its first game in October, although approximately 4,000 of those seats will have obstructed views.” Larsen noted that funding for the reconstruction would come through the “city tax increase approval.” A Utah bill passed this winter allows Salt Lake City to “increase its sales tax by 0.5% to raise money for the project.” in twenty years it will total more than $1 billion. Smith said that “building a new arena further south was his first option,” but added that “legislative leaders stepped in to keep the Jazz and NHL team downtown.” Smith said elected officials “literally stopped us in the middle of the process and said, ‘These both need to be downtown, so figure out what to do’” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 4/19).