Sports

Sources – Coyotes players told team is relocating to Utah

Arizona Coyotes players were informed Friday that the team was moving to Utah, sources told ESPN, confirming a report from PHNX Sports.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong met with the players before their game against the Edmonton Oilers to confirm what had been circulating all week: that the NHL was working to facilitate a sale to Ryan and Ashley Smith, owners of the Utah Jazz . The Coyotes will begin playing there next season.

The NHL and Smith’s group are working on a deal, but sources told ESPN Friday night that nothing is done yet and there is a lot of work to be done before the deal is finalized.

An announcement is expected next week, at the end of the NHL regular season, sources told ESPN.

Coyotes players and staff will be invited to visit Salt Lake City after the season finale to experience the city and its facilities.

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

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

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has been looking for years to find a permanent home for his club, which temporarily plays its home games at Arizona State’s Mullett Arena. Meruelo is eyeing land in the Phoenix area and intends to win a state land auction on June 27. However, according to sources, the NHL became skeptical of the schedule and decided it needed a better solution for next season.

The NHL is interested in returning to Arizona in the future and will leave the door open for Meruelo to become a team owner.

News Source : www.espn.com
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