Image Courtesy of Bloomberg

By Noah Slayter

The Coyotes are moving to Utah.

The Arizona hockey team is moving to Salt Lake City, sources claim. Utah Jazz owner and billionaire Ryan Smith finalized the purchase of the team on April 18 when the NHL Board of Governors approved the move.

Bill Armstrong, the team’s manager, told players they would be moving to Utah after next season. Players and their families will be able to tour the Utah Jazz’s “Delta facility,” which will be their new home.

Smith bought the team for $1 billion and paid the NHL $200 million for relocation fees. 

The new team owner bought the team, players, and draft picks but not any of the team’s intellectual property like logos and name. This means the Coyotes will need a new name.

The Arizona team has been struggling to find a permanent location in the Grand Canyon state for months. The NHL has been wary of the team’s arena displacement, so according to sources with ESPN, the league decided it was better to move the team out of Arizona.

Smith spoke with Bloomberg News regarding how he decided not to buy the team’s intellectual property. He said, “I don’t know if this has ever been done.” The billionaire said he is “creating a new franchise, but we’re taking the assets of another one.”

The Coyotes only once reached the playoffs in the last 12 years. They moved from Winnipeg in 1996. Alex Merulo, the Coyotes’ owner, bought the team in 2019 for $245 million. He attempted to find a location for the team after Glendale refused to renew the hockey team’s contract for their stadium. They moved to Arizona State University’s facility, sharing with the college hockey team.

CUA Senior Politics major, Alexander Diaz, also an Arizona native, said he thinks Salt Lake City will be “honestly be more accommodating” than Arizona has been.

“You can try and ‘save’ a team as much as you like,” Diaz said, “but if you can’t convince voters to support a team then what can you do?”

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