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NHL Considering A Contingency Plan for Possible Sale and Relocation of Arizona Coyotes to Utah

The fate of the Arizona Coyotes hangs in the balance.

Last year the proposal for a multimillion-dollar entertainment hub in Tempe by the NHL team was turned down by voters. And as the NHL organization is currently the process of considering the purchase of land on the Phoenix/Scottsdale border, the future of where the Coyotes will call home is still up in the air.

During the current 2023-24 season, the team’s home games are held at Mullett Arena, located on the campus of Arizona State University. The capacity of the arena is limited to 5,000 fans. The team were forced to utilized the college arena for their games in the previous 2022-23 season.

According to a report by ESPN, the NHL is currently developing a contingency plan in response to the uncertain future of the team, which could potentially lead to the relocation of the franchise to Salt Lake City as soon as the next season.

According to recent reports, the league is making preparations in the event that the Coyotes relocate this summer, following owner Ryan Smith’s request for potential team names. It was also revealed that Smith is the owner of the Utah Jazz.

Allegedly a reliable source revealed to the Associated Press that the NHL has developed two potential schedule versions for the upcoming season, one for the team to potentially relocate to Arizona and another for the team to possibly play under a new name in Utah.

No formal comment from the NHL, Coyotes, and Smith Entertainment Group has been made on the two versions of schedules, however, it is believed that various measures are being taken in preparation for a potential relocation.

The current focus of the team is on a 95-acre piece of land located in the north-eastern area of Phoenix. The auction for this land will take place on June 27. The initial bidding price has been determined to be $68.5 million.

According to Coyotes team president Xavier Gutierrez, if the Coyotes are successful in the auction, construction is expected to commence within the next year. Gutierrez also mentioned that they are aiming to start playing in the fall of 2027.

In downtown Salt Lake City, there is already an existing arena. The Jazz ownership has proposed a plan to utilize the Delta Center as a temporary venue for a hockey team until a new facility is built. This group has been in discussions with the league since 2022.