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Sources – Coyotes players told team is relocating to Utah

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By jeenmediaa


Arizona Coyotes players were informed Friday that the team is relocating to Utah, sources told ESPN, confirming a report by PHNX Sports.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong met with the team ahead of their game against the Edmonton Oilers to confirm what had been rumored all week — the NHL has facilitated a sale to Ryan and Ashley Smith, owners of the Utah Jazz. The Coyotes will begin playing there next season.

The move will be announced next week, at the conclusion of the NHL regular season, sources told ESPN.

Coyotes players and staff members will be invited to visit Salt Lake City after their season finale to check out the city and facilities.

The plan is for the team to play at the Delta Center, which is owned by Smith and is also home to the NBA’s Jazz. However, sources told ESPN that the NHL has made clear to the Smiths that a hockey-specific upgrade is needed at the Delta Center in order to become the team’s permanent home.

Smith already has government support. A bill passed in the Utah State Senate to help fund a renovated entertainment district downtown in anticipation of an NHL franchise. The bill already has approval from Utah governor Spencer Cox.

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has been on a years-long quest to find a permanent home for the Coyotes, who have been temporarily playing their home games at Arizona State’s Mullett Arena. Meruelo has eyed a plot in the Phoenix area, and intends to win a state-run land auction for it on June 27. However, according to sources, the NHL grew skeptical of the timeline and decided they needed a better solution for next season.

The NHL is interested in returning to Arizona in the future, and will leave the door open to Meruelo to own the team.



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