SALT LAKE CITY — Monday night — and what's being billed as The Salt Lake Shootout — will mark a fun return for a couple of things.
For one thing, the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will square off in an exhibition on the Vivint Arena ice in what will be the first NHL game in Utah in 10 years. The last NHL game in the Beehive State too place on Oct. 5, 2008, when the Kings and San Jose Sharks played at the E Center.
This will be the first of a three-year agreement for the Kings to play a preseason game at Vivint Arena. Los Angeles will be back for exhibition contests in 2019 and ’20.
“Both sides were really excited about the idea. It just got put together real quick and easy,” Vivint Arena president Jim Olsen said. “We think it will be a great crowd that will enjoy NHL hockey.”
The return of the NHL to Utah is also a homecoming of sorts for two players in the world’s best ice hockey league.
The Kings’ roster features two Utah players on it — forward Trevor Lewis and defenseman Daniel Brickley.
Lewis, who hails from the Cottonwood Heights area, became the first native Utahn to win the Stanley Cup in 2012 — and won a second trophy in 2014 as an added bonus.
Brickley went to Skyline High and made his NHL debut in April 2017. He played collegiately at Minnesota State University.
That makes this NHL preseason game even more enticing for a Utah audience. Olsen anticipates a strong, enthusiastic crowd.
The fact that Vivint Arena has transformed into one of the nicest sporting venues in the world made coming to Utah even more enticing for the Kings.
“They’re such a strong brand. I think they realize they have fans in Utah,” Olsen said. “Now that they have two players on their team from Utah. I felt that was important to them. They also like our renovated arena, and it was just a perfect for it for everybody.”
Though some people believe Utah would be an ideal market for the NHL, Olsen said, that is not the intent of his organization’s three-year preseason deal with the Kings.
“It’s not in the equation of this relationship,” he said. “This is really just a great opportunity to work with the L.A. Kings and bring NHL hockey into the marketplace. It’s really a separate discussion.”Comment on this story
The arena just finished hosting a humongous DoTerra convention, so it made the ice for this game before the essential oils crowd filled the building.
Olsen said the fun part about the ice-making process — the ice is about 1 3/4 inches thick and has a white powder added to regular water — was putting all of the NHL and sponsorship logos into place.
“It was a fun project to do,” Olsen said. “It’s just been a great relationship with the L.A. Kings, and we’re excited to do hockey with them.”