Arizona Coyotes relocation
(Photo Credit: University of College/ Shutterstock)

It’s official – the Arizona Coyotes are moving to Utah. Players were informed of the relocation on Friday before their game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Craig Morgan announced the news on Twitter Friday evening. As a lifelong hockey fan, I can’t help but feel mixed emotions about this relocation update.

General Manager Bill Armstrong confirmed the rumors that had been swirling all week. The NHL has facilitated a sale to Ryan and Ashley Smith, owners of the NBA’s Utah Jazz. The Coyotes will call Salt Lake City home starting next season.

The team will play its final game in Arizona on April 17th against the Oilers at Mullett Arena. It’s sure to be a bittersweet night for players and fans alike, as they say goodbye to 26 years of Coyotes history in the desert.

After the season finale, players and staff will have a chance to visit Salt Lake City. They’ll get to explore their new city and check out the facilities, and it’s an opportunity for them to start envisioning the next chapter.

The Delta Center will serve as the Coyotes’ temporary home. However, the NHL has made it clear that hockey-specific upgrades are necessary for it to become their permanent den. Luckily, the Utah State Senate has already passed a bill to fund a renovated entertainment district downtown. Governor Spencer Cox has given his approval, paving the way for NHL hockey in Utah.

Delta Center Utah hockey team

Will the team keep the Coyotes name or adopt a new identity? That remains to be seen. Some fans have suggested Utah hockey team names like the “Utah Mountaineers” or “Salt Lake Sentinels.” Personally, I think the “Utah Yotes” could be a fun nod to their Arizona roots while embracing their new home.

It’s important to note that the NHL has expressed interest in returning to Arizona in the future. The door remains open for current owner Alex Meruelo to potentially own the team down the line, depending on how his plans for a new arena in the Phoenix area progress.

As a hockey fan, I’m excited to see NHL action in Salt Lake City. With passionate fans and a rich minor league hockey history, Utah seems ready to embrace the Coyotes. Who knows – maybe this move will inspire a new generation of young players to take up the sport.

For now, let’s appreciate the Coyotes’ legacy in Arizona. Let’s remember the countless memories they’ve given their fans over the years.

As the Yotes prepare for their final game in the desert, I’ll be cheering them on. I’m grateful for the past and eager to see what the future holds in their new home.