Much has been said over the last few days about the Arizona Coyotes moving to Utah. However, these Coyotes relocation reports have not been officially addressed by the team or ownership. That changed on Saturday evening when owner Alex Meruelo released an official statement on the reports of his club becoming a Utah NHL team.

Meruelo's statement did not make the Coyotes relocation official. As of now, there is still no Utah NHL team. However, reports as of late have indicated that the news will be official sometime soon. In fact, an announcement about the Coyotes moving to Utah could come sometime this upcoming week.

Arizona is currently still finishing out the 2023-24 NHL season. They were officially eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention a while back. As a result, their season will come to a close on April 17 when they host the Edmonton Oilers at Mullett Arena.

Alex Meruelo could bring Coyotes back

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo speaks to the media at a news conference announcing his new ownership at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Thursday. Thomas Hawthorne/The Republic Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo speaks to the media at a press conference announcing Meruelo's new ownership of the Coyotes at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz.
Thomas Hawthorne/The Republic, Arizona Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Alex Meruelo has tried for a few years to keep the Coyotes from moving to Utah. The Arizona owner proposed a privately funded arena and entertainment district last summer that was to be built on a landfill in Tempe. However, public voters were against the idea. They voted down the proposal, setting off new relocation rumors.

Around this time, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith made it known he was open to owning a Utah NHL team. And he even mentioned that he was willing to buy the Coyotes to make it happen. However, the league gave Meruelo time to try and find one more solution to the team's arena issue.

A few weeks back, the Coyotes owner released plans for another privately funded arena and entertainment district in North Phoenix. The franchise announced its intention to win an auction for the required land on June 27. That being said, issues over infrastructure soon arose, throwing more doubt about this plan.

Things came to a head this past week. Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported that significant progress was made on the sale of the Coyotes. The plan was to relocate the franchise to Salt Lake City, Utah, creating a Utah NHL team for the first time. On Friday night, reports indicated that Coyotes players became aware that the move was going to happen.

Utah NHL details

It's currently unclear what a Utah NHL team will look like. However, we know a few details of how the transaction between Ryan Smith, Alex Meruelo, and the league could go down. First, according to local radio host John Gambadoro, the business side of the franchise would remain in Arizona.

Meruelo would retain the business staff and the AHL's Tucson Roadrunners. In this deal, the soon-to-be ex-Coyotes owner would receive a five-year window to reactivate the franchise. If that happens, he must pay back the $1 billion he would receive in the sale of the team to Smith.

According to Gambadoro, Smith would pay $1.2 billion total for his Utah NHL team. The extra $200 million is considered a relocation fee and would be split among the other 31 franchises in the league. The sporting side of the Coyotes moves to Salt Lake under this arrangement. The Utah NHL team would share the Delta Center with the Utah Jazz until a new NBA/NHL hybrid arena was built downtown.