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Will the NHL succeed in Salt Lake City? A breakdown of hockey in the region – LocalNews8.com

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KIFI) – As East Idaho has seen with the Spud Kings in Idaho Falls over the past two years, hockey has grown in this area thanks to the team’s success. Will we see the same kind of growth with the NHL now moving to Utah via the hybrid move of the Arizona Coyotes?

I made the trek south this week to find the answer and meet a couple who have experienced hockey in both Utah and Arizona.

The yet-to-be-named new NHL franchise in Utah is the first NHL team in the Beehive State. The Utah name, logos and trademarks will be new, but the players, coaches and hockey staff will come from the new, inactive Arizona Coyotes.

“I think they’re going to be amazed at the reception they get and hopefully everyone shows up on Wednesday,” said Ryan Smith, chairman/CEO of Smith Entertainment Group.

The new team also has big goals.

“We want to bring a championship,” said Ashley Smith, co-owner of Smith Entertainment Group. “We want to bring a Stanley Cup to Utah.”

Salt Lake City is the fourth city in the mountains to the west and the desert to the southwest to have an NHL team, joining Denver’s Colorado Avalanche, Las Vegas’ Vegas Golden Knights and Phoenix’s Arizona Coyotes.

So I headed to one of those cities, Las Vegas, to watch the Golden Knights and understand why the NHL can and has worked in the region despite the Coyotes’ hybrid move.

This is also where I met a couple, Jeanette and Tom Lashoff, who were part of the hockey communities in Utah and Arizona, and they also happen to be my aunt and uncle.

While seeing the VGK firsthand, we talked about the Yotes’ hybrid move to Utah.

“We have friends there,” Jeanette Lashoff said. “We talk about it a lot with people at the dog park, and there are a lot of people who really love the Coyotes. I think the location made it a little difficult for people to get there.”

“I was actually disappointed when I heard the news that they were leaving,” Tom Lashoff said. “I’ve been a Coyotes fan for years. I’ve spent the last few winters in Phoenix, a great area, and I’ve really become a fan of the team.”

The hockey market we experienced this week, Las Vegas, is a hockey market like no other, but the massive success of the Golden Knights bodes well for the fate of the NHL in Salt Lake City.

“Salt Lake City is also a tourist destination with great skiing and hiking,” Jeanette Lashoff said. “So it could be normal for people to come, just like they do to Vegas.

“It takes a lot of work to build a fan base, as Vegas knows, but if they want to follow how Vegas did it, they can be successful.”

Given the hockey they’ve seen and experienced in the mountains to the west and the desert to the southwest, I asked the Lashoffs if they think the NHL can be a success in Salt Lake City.

“I think it will be great for youth hockey there,” Tom Lashoff said. “I think it will probably grow the sport there. I think it’s very good for the Salt Lake area.”

“They have the Grizzlies there, but not a huge turnout,” Jeanette Lashoff said. “And I think having these players to look up to is really going to make a difference, not just in terms of the kids and how they think about hockey, but even in terms of the coaches. And they’ll probably increase the level of raise the players.” entire region.”

Regardless of how Utah managed to get the NHL to Salt Lake City, it’s guaranteed that the Delta Center will be rocking for hockey this fall.