Idahoans will not have to travel to Seattle to see a National Hockey League game. According to multiple news and sports outlets, the former Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes are moving to Utah, Salt Lake City specifically, in a move that shocked the sports world overnight.

The Utah Coyotes? The Salt Lake City Coyotes? According to Sportico, the Coyotes will not travel from Arizona. Alex Meruelo sold the team to Ryan Smith the Utah Jazz owner. Mr. Smith has been instrumental in bringing big time events like the UFC and the NBA All Star Game. 

In a rather unusual move, the teams players, front office folk, and all operations have been sold. Mr. Meruelo will keep the name and intellectual property in hopes of getting a new arena deal and relaunching the team. The league has given a five year window to get the multibillion dollar facility built.

How much does it cost to buy an NHL team? Even a failing one? Mr. Smith paid one point two billion dollars. The Coyotes get the billion, and the league gets two hundred thousand dollars.


Utah's new NHL team will play in a renovated Delta Center. There has been talk of a new downtown arena or building a new arena in hopes of attracting massive sports and entertainment events.

Mr. Smith has told the Salt Lake Tribune and other media outlets that he'd like to build a hockey-only arena. A new facility would be financed by taxpayers.

Could Salt Lake City, one of the nation's smaller big-time markets, become the mega sports center of the Mountain West and the Pacific Northwest? It appears Salt Lake City is not done attracting another major sports team. Deseret News reports that the Larry Miller Company is seeking to attract a Major League Baseball team. Despite its size, how many cities in our region could boast of having two or three significant sports franchises?

The excellent news for Idahoans is that a Salt Lake trip is much closer than that of Seattle. We'll continue to update you on this story as it develops.

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