It's official! The Arizona Coyotes are headed to Salt Lake City, Utah after the move was approved by the NHL Board of Governors. Ryan Smith, the CEO of the Utah Jazz, was clearly excited that they were going to have a new professional hockey team in the area. So much so that they already gauged the interest of local fans when it came to being season ticket holders. They got the numbers back and it will surely please Commissioner Gary Bettman.

“Wow! Over 6,000 season ticket deposits in the first 2 hours. Utah is amazing!” Jazz and Coyotes owner Ryan Smith wrote on X.

This is certainly good news for the NHL and Coyotes. Their hard work saw them finalize the deal until 2 AM. In that meeting, the Gary Bettman-led league acted as a broker. The transaction saw current owner Alex Meruelo net $1 billion, and the rest of the NHL owners getting $200 million due to the relocation fee. The Smith Entertainment group ended up doling out $1.2 billion to get all the hockey-related assets of the Coyotes.

With the deal done and voted on as unanimous, the Coyotes have also played their last game in Arizona. Mullet Arena had a white-out game against the Edmonton Oilers. The local fans bid farewell to their team of 28 years by selling out the arena. Thankfully, the team also delivered a great match. They won against the Oilers with a five to two scoreline. After this matchup, the Coyotes have officially been placed as an inactive franchise.

The NHL Commissioner also had to thank the Arizona fans for their constant patronage, via Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.

“The NHL’s belief in Arizona has never wavered. We thank Alex Meruelo for his commitment to the franchise and Arizona. We fully support his ongoing efforts to secure a new home in the desert for the Coyotes, we also want to acknowledge the loyal hockey fans of Arizona, who have supported their team with dedication for nearly three decades while growing the game,” Bettman declared.

Optimism about the Coyotes' relocation

Apr 17, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes fans in the crowd hold signs for the players following the game against the Edmonton Oilers at Mullett Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It is often tedious to have an NHL franchise relocate. The lack of sales for the rest of the season along with the preparations for the next year will have to coincide with one another. But, this is the reality that Ryan Smith and the rest of the Coyotes have to stomach.

Nonetheless, the Jazz owners and new Coyotes owners are very grateful that they were given the opportunity by the league. They outlined their excitement in leading the franchise to more historic feats.

“We are honored to bring an NHL team to Utah and understand the responsibility we have as stewards of a new NHL franchise. Commissioner Bettman conceived and proposed an ingenious plan that would allow us to acquire an NHL franchise while also helping to address and remedy an immediate need of the NHL,” the Smiths said.

The Coyotes are entering a new era. Hopefully, they are able to find more postseason success and get a larger fan base along with it.