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The NHL Makes Interesting Decision Regarding Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes relocation

Earlier today the schedule makers decided on their 2024-25 NHL regular season schedule with a second version. They are in the process of drafting up next year’s schedule. Moreover, there was to be one version based on the Coyotes being in Arizona. However, there was going to be a secondary edition of one based on the Arizona Coyotes relocating to Salt Lake City, Utah. We say ‘was’ because that was before the latest news reportedly broke. Apparently there is a verbal agreement in place that the franchise will relocate and play at the home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, the Delta Center. What’s more, is that the players have reportedly been informed of this verbal deal.

The NHL Coyotes Could Have a New Arena, Just in Salt Lake City not Arizona

Of course, the timing is always of interest and makes the talks seem very close to reality because of a tweet earlier this week. Ryan Smith is the current owner of the Utah Jazz. His tweet of earlier this week was pontificating a new NHL franchise if one so happened to become available. Hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge! Regardless, there definitely is traction in a move from Arizona to Utah.

The Current State of the Arizona Coyotes Playing in the Mullet Arena

And why wouldn’t there be traction? The fact the NHL houses a team in a 4,600-seat arena is a farce. Yes, it is a nice story and all. Also, the Coyotes started the season well. However, as the season wore on, the Coyotes fell back and will end somewhere between a great NHL draft lottery position and a more or less okay one. The Coyotes currently find themselves with the fourth-worst record in the NHL. Moreover, they are within only a point of the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators.

Heading into the 2024 NHL entry draft the Coyotes do have their pick. They also have 13 total after having traded away players for picks. A couple of players involved in some of those trades are Jakob Chychrun and Darcy Kuemper.

A Potential Move for the NHL to Salt Lake City

Back to some specifics on the potential deal, reportedly it would see current Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo sell the team. Ryan Smith and the Smith Entertainment Group would be paying upwards of $1.2 billion for the franchise. This amount would have a relocation fee built into it for dispersal amongst NHL owners. Nothing is set in stone….yet. And there is a little time, but time is running out. The fact that the NHL did design a contingency plan is interesting, to say the least, if not direct evidence the move is already in the works. Expect more updates in the days to come.

Main Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


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