Arizona Coyotes players told team relocating to Utah, report says

Players were informed the team has been bought by Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith.

FILE - General view outside of the Delta Center
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

FILE – General view outside of the Delta Center on March 19, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Coyotes appear to be getting iced out of Arizona.

The NHL franchise, which has been playing in a college facility in recent years and has struggled to get a new arena off the ground in the Grand Canyon state, is expected to relocate to Utah for the 2024-25 season, ESPN reported on Friday.

The move has been told to players, who were informed the team has been bought by Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith.

The Coyotes are expected to play at the Delta Center, which is currently the home on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, according to the report.

The move from one of the four corner states to another comes after current Coyotes owner, Alex Meruelo, struggled to get a new home for the Coyotes in the desert. The team has played the last two seasons in a 5,000-seat rink on Arizona State’s campus, which has become a point of contention for the NHL Players' Association.

Prior to playing on a college campus, the Coyotes had played at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Az., since the 2003-04 season. However, the city of Glendale decided to end its relationship with the team and not renew its lease for the venue after the 2021-22 season.

As recently as April 4, the Coyotes under Meruelo said they were pushing ahead with efforts to secure a new arena, with plans to bid on a 110-acre plot of land in north Phoenix when it goes up for auction in June. The starting bid is estimated to be $68.5 million.

However, ESPN reported that the NHL had skepticism over the timeline of the June auction and sought a better solution for the upcoming season.

Speculation that the Coyotes would move to Salt Lake City heated up in recent days, with Ryan Smith even asking fans what name an NHL team in Utah should have in a post on X.

Officials from the NHL, Arizona Coyotes and the Smiths have yet to comment publicly on the reports of a sale and relocation. This story is developing, stay tuned for more updates later.

The National Hockey League is sending players to compete at the Winter Olympics in 2026 and 2030, marking the return of NHL players to the Games for the first time since 2014.
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