Arizona Coyotes

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It’s official – April 17 will be the Arizona Coyotes‘ final game in the desert.

As first reported by Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports and later confirmed by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and others, the team will be relocating to Salt Lake City next season.

Per multiple sources, the Coyotes have been informed that relocation to Salt Lake City is real.
Now hearing it could actually be announced on April 17; the date of the Coyotes’ final game at home vs. Edmonton.
It’s going to be quite an atmosphere that night at Mullett Arena.

Friedman’s report indicated that the Coyotes ownership had planned on keeping the relocation hidden from the players and staff, and only met with the team because the story had been leaked to the media. Per Friedman:

With players and staff demanding answers after reports of the potential move, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong flew to Alberta after attending the Frozen Four semifinals Thursday in Minnesota. He declined to comment, but those sources indicated he came clean about the move and told everyone there would be arrangements to visit Salt Lake City.

Several reports indicated that the move would be announced after the Coyotes’ final game of the season on April 17. Friedman, however, said that timeline might be a touch ambitious “because there is still work to do.”

Coyotes’ Move to Salt Lake City is Pending ‘Hockey-Specific Upgrade’ at the Delta Center

According to reports, Armstrong met with the Coyotes on April 12 ahead of their game against the Edmonton Oilers to confirm what had been rumored all week – that the NHL had facilitated the sale of the team to Ryan and Ashley Smith, owners of the NBA’s Utah Jazz.

The Coyotes will begin playing in Utah next season, and the move could be announced as soon as next week upon conclusion of the NHL regular season. Kaplan also reported that Coyotes players and staff 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, the home of the Jazz, which is also owned by the Smiths. According to Kaplan, 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 has already received government support for the move by way of 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.

NHL, Coyotes Remain Conspicuously Silent as Sale of Team Remains a ‘Fluid Situation’

As rumors and reports continue swirl, both the NHL and the Coyotes organization have yet to issue any official statements on the team’s relocation. In addition to the renovations needed at the Delta Center, there are a number of other issues that still need to be addressed.

“No question the NHL continues to work at a solution to move the Coyotes to Salt Lake City,” TSN insider Pierre LeBrun posted on X. “That’s the end game. But sources involved share tonight that there are still major issues to be resolved. Complicated transaction. Still a fluid situation.”

No question the NHL continues to work at a solution to move the Coyotes to Salt Lake City. That’s the end game. But sources involved share tonight that there are still major issues to be resolved. Complicated transaction. Still a fluid situation.

Throughout the saga, the Coyotes organization has taken an “everything’s fine” approach on social media, at times bordering on denial. On April 10, after news of the potential relocation first leaked, the team posted a video on X captioned “Committed to keeping Coyotes Hockey in the desert and building an arena in Phoenix.” The team’s bio on X also reads, “Hockey Belongs in Arizona.”

Committed to keeping Coyotes Hockey in the desert & building an arena in Phoenix.

The Coyotes players and staff, on the other hand, have demonstrated a tremendous ability to block out the noise and remain professional, earning back-to-back overtime wins over the top two teams in the Pacific Division – the Vancouver Canucks on April 10 and the Edmonton Oilers on April 12 – as the rumors and speculation escalate around them. According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, no Coyotes players were made available to the media following their win over Edmonton, and head coach Andre Tourigny said he would only comment on the game.

The Coyotes will close out their road trip with a visit to the Calgary Flames on April 14 before returning home to host Edmonton in their season finale – and their final game as the Arizona Coyotes – on April 17.

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