UTAH

Utahns showing up for the NHL in Utah

Apr 24, 2024, 4:55 PM | Updated: 5:23 pm

Ahead of the NHL to Utah party on Wednesday, Utahns crowded the plaza of the Delta Center and waite...

Ahead of the NHL to Utah party on Wednesday, Utahns crowded the plaza of the Delta Center and waited in long lines for the party to start. (Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio)

(Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — If there was any doubt that Utahns are ready for another professional sports team, or if they would support the NHL, crowds at the airport and at the Delta Center should throw cold water (or should we say ice) on those doubts.

Ahead of the NHL to Utah party on Wednesday, Utahns crowded the plaza of the Delta Center and waited in long lines for the party to start.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of young hockey fans welcomed Utah’s new team at the Salt Lake City International Airport.

It was a site that General Manager Bill Armstrong said was overwhelming for the team.

“You could see the joy in their faces when they saw the kids,” Armstrong said. “I don’t know if the kids will ever understand how much that meant to the players.

“I almost had a tear in my eye just hearing the kids chanting.”

Some of the players, like Liam O’brien, Alex Kerfoot, and Logan Cooley stopped after their flight to sign autographs and give out high fives to Utah’s next generation of hockey players.

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith set up the NHL to Utah party at the Delta Center. He said successfully bringing the NHL to Utah will require a team effort.

“We need everybody’s help. This is truly a community asset, and it is for the community,” Smith said.

The party outside the Delta Center moves inside at 5:30 p.m., when Smith will introduce Utah’s new NHL head coach as well as the players.

Our previous reporting:

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Utahns showing up for the NHL in Utah