NHL

Report: Coyotes, Utah group have talked about relocating NHL franchise from Arizona

Apr 10, 2024, 1:26 PM

Detail of the Arizona Coyotes logo during the NHL game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Gila Riv...

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 22: Detail of the Arizona Coyotes logo during the NHL game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Gila River Arena on January 22, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Golden Knights 5-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

An ownership group of the Utah Jazz and the Arizona Coyotes have had “significant progress on the framework” for the NHL franchise to relocate to Salt Lake City, reports Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.

He added that the NHL is currently drafting a 2024-25 schedule that includes two versions. One has the Arizona Coyotes franchise playing in Salt Lake City, Utah, added Seravalli.

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro last week reported that Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo spoke with potential buyers for the team. Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith went public with questions about what to name a hockey franchise that he’s already publicly stumped to own in the near future.

More from Seravalli:

As the NHL has been working on dual paths, multiple sources indicate Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo is intimately involved in both. The first, of course, involves the Coyotes remaining in the Phoenix area by building a new arena via Arizona State Land Trust auction, which is scheduled for June 27.

The Coyotes told ESPN they have no comment on the report.

In Arizona, the Coyotes have remained steadfast that Meruelo is targeting a piece of land in northeast Phoenix to build a new arena. However, the team would not be able to own that land until winning a June 27 auction.

A potential move to Utah is the latest news on the Coyotes’ plans after a failed public vote in May squashed the NHL franchise’s plans to build a new arena in Tempe.

Seravalli reports that Meruelo could sell to Smith Entertainment Group for more than $1.2 billion, which would include a relocation fee. Smith has said the Jazz’s home arena, Delta Center, is capable of hosting hockey until a new hockey-focused arena is built.

“We are interested. We are ready, and we’re a partner,” Smith told The Athletic. “The arena is done. We think we have a solution. And that’s my message to the NHL.”

Servalli added that the situation remains fluid.

Sources continually cautioned that no deal is done, Meruelo remains steadfast in his belief that he can build a gleaming new palace for the Desert Dogs, and the NHL is working hard to avoid a long and protracted battle that could surface if Meruelo is not satisfied with the terms of a transaction. Sources briefed on the ongoing discussions indicated Meruelo could receive up to $1 billion for the Coyotes. The exact figures of the proposed transaction are speculated and all details and mechanics of a proposed deal remain fluid.

The Arizona State Land Department last Thursday listed the auction for the tract of land on the northwest corner of the Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road near Desert Ridge Marketplace.

The tract of land would require the Coyotes to pay for development costs such as water, sewage and additional roadway changes to handle large crowds of an entertainment district. Neighboring Scottsdale and the Arizona State Land Department have written in some requirements about what would be on the team, though Meruelo in a statement acknowledged he could be on the hook for $100 million just to develop the land that is currently without utilities.

This story was first published by Sactown Sports‘ sister station, Arizona Sports. Thank you for reading SactownSports.com. Follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. 

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Report: Coyotes, Utah group have talked about relocating NHL franchise from Arizona