• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hello, Goodbye: Coyotes’ Future in Flux As Relocation Rumors Ramp Up

  • The league reportedly has developed a contingency plan to move the team to Salt Lake City.
  • The situation remains very fluid and uncertain, and it has also affected team play.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the Coyotes’ continual efforts to secure a long-term future in their current market, the team’s local situation is seemingly devolving in near–real time, perhaps marking the beginning of the end of a 28-year stint in the desert. 

Just since Monday, when Scottdale mayor David Ortega blasted the team’s plans to build a $3 billion arena and mixed-use development in north Phoenix, the Coyotes have been beset with a dizzying series of developments, many of which suggest a lack of confidence in the franchise. 

Among the latest events to surround the team:

  • The NHL has developed a contingency plan to move the team to Salt Lake City, according to multiple reports, a market that has openly coveted landing a team. In addition to drafting an alternate schedule for the 2024–25 season that would involve the team being placed in Utah, multiple reports also pointed to a two-stage process in which Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo would sell the franchise back to the NHL for $1 billion, and then Ryan Smith, owner of the NBA’s Jazz and co-owner of two pro soccer teams in Salt Lake City, would buy the team for as much as $1.3 billion. Other NHL team owners would split the difference. 
  • Smith went as far to post a survey on X in which he is soliciting potential names for an NHL team in Utah. 
  • NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement that certainly didn’t throw any cold water on the Salt Lake City chatter, instead saying, “The league is continuing to work on a solution to what has been a challenging and difficult situation. But we are not in a position to comment beyond that.” 
  • Before Wednesday’s game in Vancouver, Coyotes coach André Tourigny (above, standing) said relocation rumors surrounding the team since January helped prompt a 14-game losing streak and derail the season. “We cannot pretend it did not affect our team,” Tourigny said. “That had a huge impact on our season. We did not deal with it the right away at the time.”
  • Ortega walked back some of his prior opposition to the Arizona proposal, saying he’s now in favor of the project, so long as its primary access point faces Phoenix instead of Scottsdale, in order to alleviate traffic concerns. Ortega’s recommendation would be a shift from how the planned development was presented in original renderings.

Though a relocation to Utah is far from certain, the rising noise surrounding the Coyotes perhaps prompted the team to post a video on X on Wednesday in which the team reiterated it was “committed to keeping Coyotes hockey in the desert and building an arena in Phoenix.” The Coyotes are aiming to win a June 27 auction for a 110-acre parcel of state-owned land in north Phoenix, initially appraised at $68.5 million.

The various moves and comments raise plenty of questions, including why the NHL would want to trade down from the No. 11 media market to the No. 27 one, before even knowing what will happen with the land auction. The Delta Center, where the Coyotes would play temporarily in a move to Utah, also was not designed for hockey, a facility situation that impaired the team’s early years in what is now the Footprint Center in Phoenix. But such is the uncertainty and fluidity currently surrounding the Coyotes. 

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Sports World’s Ground Zero: Dallas to Host NBA and NHL Conference Finals

American Airlines Center is the first arena to host NHL, NBA conference finals games in the same season since 2003.

Historic Premier League Season Closes As U.S. Influence Expands

Man City can expect to receive roughly $79 million from the EPL’s system of merit payments.

WNBA’s Boom Time: Record Growth, Clark’s Debut, a Controversial Deal

League attendance is up by nearly a third, while the Liberty set a single-game ticketing record.
Apr 17, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing Lawson Crouse (67) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Edmonton Oilers at Mullett Arena.

New Stadiums, New Hurdles: Coyotes and A’s Face High Stakes

The former Coyotes owner takes further steps to try to advance his proposed arena project.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

The Next Era of the Harlem Globetrotters


Featured Today


‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.
Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
May 19, 2024

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Jaguars rendering 2024

Jags’ Latest Stadium Plan: $1.4B in Upgrades, Relocate for ’27 Season

The NFL team and Jacksonville mayor Donna Deegan presented a new stadium renovation agreement.
May 3, 2024

RFK’s Demolition Could Fast-Track Commanders’ Return to D.C.

The National Park Service gives the official green light to demolish the vacant facility.
May 9, 2024

Meet the … Utah Yeti? NHL Franchise Polling 20 Options for New Team Name

Jerseys will say ‘Utah’ for next season.

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 2, 2024

Bears’ $4.7 Billion Stadium Pitch Caught in a Game of Political Football

The office of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker brands the team’s stadium proposal as a ‘nonstarter.’
May 1, 2024

Chiefs, Browns’ Stadium Renderings: Familiar Looking and … Premature?

New renderings and funding proposals begin to take shape long before any stadium deals are finalized.
April 30, 2024

Not a Done Deal: Arlington Heights Keeps Its Bears Stadium Hopes Alive

Arlington Heights’ mayor says the village is ready to restart stadium talks with the NFL team.
April 30, 2024

The A’s Still Have a $1.5B Question: Where’s the Money Coming From?

Team owner John Fisher reportedly looks to raise $500 million to help fund a new ballpark.