The Latest on the Arizona Coyotes Relocation to Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City

As the 2023-24 National Hockey League regular season enters its final week, all eyes should be on the push towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Four teams –the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Detroit Red Wings– are fighting for the final Eastern Conference wild card spot.  However, much of the hockey world’s attention has been drawn to the drama unfolding between the Arizona Coyotes, the NHL, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and the Coyotes’ potential relocation to Salt Lake City, Utah.

As first reported by NHL insider Frank Seravalli, the Coyotes franchise is reportedly set to be sold to Smith Entertainment Group (SEG) as early as this week. SEG, which is owned and operated by Jazz owner Ryan Smith, would then relocate the franchise to the Salt Lake City, Utah area. SEG’s purchase and relocation of the Coyotes has reportedly been in the works since the beginning of 2024. Any potential sale and/or relocation would need approval of the NHL Board of Governors.  And while the BOG has not officially approved the sale and/or relocation of the Coyotes, it’s believed to simply be a formality. 

Here’s the latest on the Arizona Coyotes relocation to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Players Have Reportedly Been Informed of the Coyotes Relocation

According to PHNX Sports’ Coyotes Insider Craig Morgan, Arizona players were informed on Friday evening that the franchise will be relocating to Salt Lake City, Utah. According to Morgan, Coyotes’ general manager Bill Armstrong traveled to Edmonton to break the news to Arizona players prior to their Friday night game against the Edmonton Oilers. 

TSN’s Elliotte Friedman has confirmed Morgan’s report. 

For the players’ part, they have stayed mum on the potential relocation of the teams. Multiple Coyotes’ players sidestepped any relocation related questions when pressed by reporters.

When Will the Sale Be Made Official?

According to reports, the sale might be announced as early as Wednesday, April 17, which is also Arizona’s last game of the regular season. In a twist, Coyotes’ owner Alex Meruelo would sell the team directly to the NHL for around $1 billion. The NHL would then turn around and sell the hockey assets to Smith’s SEG group, who will then formally announce the move to Utah. 

As part of the deal, the NHL and Meruelo would agree to place an expansion team in the Phoenix-area if and when an arena can be constructed. That Arizona team, which would retain the Coyotes name, image, and likeness, would be part of a rumored expansion of the NHL to at least 34-teams or more including potential teams in Atlanta, Houston, and Quebec.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Meruelo will reportedly discuss the deal at a joint press conference at some point this week. 

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