NHL Approves Arizona Coyotes Relocation to Salt Lake City


The Arizona Coyotes are no more—at least for the immediate future.

The Coyotes will move to Utah beginning in the 2025 season, the NHL announced in a Thursday afternoon release. The relocation ends the franchise’s troubled 27-year stint in the Phoenix metro area (for now), and gives Utah its third major sports team.

“As everyone knows, Utah is a vibrant and thriving state, and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in the release. “We are also delighted to welcome Ashley and Ryan Smith to the NHL family and know they will be great stewards of the game in Utah.”

Ryan Smith, an experience management magnate, own the NBA’s Utah Jazz and co-owns MLS’s Real Salt Lake.

His new NHL franchise will subsume Arizona’s assets, but will not take the Coyotes name. That will remain property of Arizona owner Alex Meruelo, who can reactivate the team as an expansion squad if a suitable NHL arena is constructed in the next five years.

“This is not the end for NHL hockey in Arizona,” Meruelo said in the league statement. “I remain committed to this community and to building a first-class sports arena and entertainment district without seeking financial support from the public.”

The Coyotes struggled on and off the ice throughout their existence. They advanced past the first round of the playoffs just once, reaching the Western Conference finals in 2012, while dodging persistent financial turmoil and relocation rumors. That has all come to an end, and the organization will begin anew in Salt Lake.

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