NHL Approves Arizona Coyotes Sale & Relocation

The NHL’s board of governors has unanimously approved the sale and relocation of the Arizona Coyotes to Utah, ending the team’s long-standing efforts to secure a new arena in Arizona and marking a significant transition for the franchise and its fans.

The NHL’s board of governors has given the thumbs up. They’re all in on moving the Arizona Coyotes over to Utah. This scoop comes straight from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. And yep, Chris Johnston from The Athletic tells us it was a unanimous vote. Quick on their heels, the NHL dropped a statement about this big change.

So, this wraps up the Coyotes’ long hunt for a place to call home in Arizona. Since their lease at Gila River Arena wrapped up in 2021-22, they’ve been on the lookout. They even teamed up with Arizona State University’s hockey squads, sharing a cozy 5,000-seat arena. The first game there? Packed house on Oct. 28, 2022. And it’s been a full house for nearly every game since. But even with the fans’ solid backing, a new rink remained out of reach. Alex Meruelo’s crew hit a wall – they just couldn’t secure a spot for a bigger rink in time. After some back-and-forth, the NHL and the Coyotes’ brass made a call. Hello, Salt Lake City for the 2024-25 season.

This move’s got strings attached for Meruelo and the Coyotes’ image. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski spills that bringing the Coyotes back wouldn’t be a biggie for the Board of Governors. If Meruelo builds a full-size arena, he can jump back in, no sweat. The NHL’s deputy commissioner even told Wyshynski, “Meruelo’s good to go as an NHL owner.” So, the Coyotes will hit pause, staying “inactive” while the hunt for a new home goes on.

For Coyotes fans, this is a tough pill to swallow. They’ve been the backbone of desert hockey for 28 years. Before their stint at Mullett, attendance never really dipped – except once, and just barely, in the 2009-10 season. But they bounced back, pulling in over 14,600 fans on average during the 2019-20 season. Their dedication? Unquestionable. The final home game on April 17 was a testament to that. Fans across Arizona gathered for watch parties, cheering on a 5-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers – a sweet echo of their first-ever game. Broadcaster Todd Walsh captured the mood perfectly in a heartfelt five-minute sign-off, marking the end of an era since their 1996 move.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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