May 20, 2024

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NHL Positioning to Move Coyotes to Salt Lake City for 2024-25: Sources

NHL Positioning to Move Coyotes to Salt Lake City for 2024-25: Sources

The NHL is preparing to move the Arizona Coyotes to Salt Lake City in time for the 2024-25 season, and updated its Board of Governors on the situation with a status report memo on Wednesday, according to multiple sources who read the memo.

The situation report, according to those sources, stated that there were a lot of moving parts in the situation and stressed that no final decisions had been made. Multiple league sources have cautioned against framing the move to Utah State as a done deal while confirming that these discussions are taking place. While stressing the need to take action, one source said that matters could escalate quickly.

The Coyotes will wrap up their second season at the 4,600-seat Mullett Arena next week, and owner Alex Meruelo is still trying to finalize plans to build an NHL-quality facility in Arizona.

The organization announced last week that it intends to win a state land auction on June 27 for a 110-acre plot of land in Phoenix that could include a new arena and entertainment district, but league sources said that even if Meruelo is successful in winning that auction, it will take at least three years before That the Coyotes could play there.

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Meanwhile, the NHL has a ready solution in Salt Lake City. Billionaire Ryan Smith, chairman and CEO of Smith Entertainment Group, which owns the NBA's Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake, has formally asked the NHL to begin an expansion process in January so he can bring a team to Utah. According to a source close to the situation, SEG is not in direct talks with the Coyotes. Communications flow across the NHL.

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If the sale goes through, SEG has told the league it could begin play immediately on a temporary basis at the Delta Center, which has capacity for about 14,000 hockey players, or upon completion of the new arena to be built in the city.

Salt Lake City has a bid underway to host the 2034 Winter Olympics.

It did not go unnoticed that Smith sent out a tweet on Monday asking fans to submit potential nicknames for his NHL team.

A SEG spokesman declined to comment on Wednesday.

“The league continues to work to find a solution to a difficult and challenging situation,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. The athlete. But we are not in a position to comment beyond that.”

If the NHL leaves Arizona, the area would immediately be viewed as a prime location for expansion down the road, assuming Meruelo or someone else can build the right building.

The area became a hotbed for minor hockey and produced current NHL scoring leader Auston Matthews, among other players. It is also a major media market.

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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)