SPORTS

Program coordinator says youth hockey will grow due to NHL move to Utah

Apr 18, 2024, 10:42 PM | Updated: 10:44 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY — Excitement was running high Thursday at the Acord Ice Center about the prospects of youth hockey in the state following the announcement that the NHL had approved a hockey franchise in Utah.

Under the move, assets from the Arizona Coyotes organization would be shifted to Salt Lake City, where they would be owned by Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith.

At the Acord Ice Center, recreation program coordinator and acting manager Chris Billeter said the news was massive.

“We’re getting an NHL team? Yeah, it’s pretty cool!” he said. “I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime, so I’m excited to see an NHL team coming here.”

The Salt Lake County Hockey logo at the center.

The Salt Lake County Hockey logo at the center. (KSL TV)

Billeter grew up playing hockey and now runs the ‘learn to play’ program that has already seen a growing number of kids coming through the doors.

“It’s going to create a lot of enthusiasm,” he said. “Everywhere the NHL shows up, programs just seem to expand and blossom, so I would expect it to grow more, which is great.”

Adam McCray said he fell in love with the sport in 2017 and was on hand Thursday afternoon as his sister learned how to play goalie.

“Yeah, I think it’s going to have a big impact on Utah’s hockey community,” he said.

Hockey dad Arron Mills was watching his 6-year-old learn and echoed the sentiment.

“Now, it’s going to be on the main stage—that’s kind of my viewpoint on it,” Mills said. “I’m excited for it.”

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Program coordinator says youth hockey will grow due to NHL move to Utah