NHL

NHL Commissioner Comments On Arizona Coyotes Land/Arena Situation

Mar 21, 2024, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:01 pm

NHL Coyotes Arizona...

OTTAWA, CANADA - MARCH 27: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference prior to a game between the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on March 27, 2023 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – As time keeps ticking on the Arizona Coyotes and their hopes of staying in Phoenix, it seems like updates aren’t offering much new information.

When asked during a press conference at the General Manager’s Meetings this week in Florida about the Coyotes, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated, “I have nothing new to add on Arizona. I mean, I know you have lots of questions, but it continues to be something we’re focused on, but more importantly, something the ownership of the Coyotes is focused on we’re cognizant that Alex Meruelo is working on acquiring the best location for the new arena for his overall project.”

Meruelo and his group bid for $68.5 million to purchase 95 state-owned acres just north of Phoenix. The next step is for the state to set an auction date, which must then be publicly posted and advertised for 10 weeks.

When asked if the bid fell through if he thought the team would have enough time to “pivot” or relocate to avoid playing in a college arena next season, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated, “Probably not. I don’t believe so.”

Daly later said that for right now he is focused on the Coyotes playing in Arizona next season and that there is likely not enough time left to relocate the team for next season.

Historical Context: Past NHL Team Moves

But it has been done on somewhat short notice before.

When the Atlanta Thrashers announced on May 31, 2011 that they had been sold to Winnipeg, the Board of Governors approved the sale of the team and the transfer to Winnipeg on June 21, ending 15 years of Winnipeg not having an NHL team.

Ironically, Winnipeg’s last team had been moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes. Both the current Winnipeg Jets team and the Arizona Coyotes are rumored to be relocating.

Even if the Coyotes get their land, they will still be several years from playing in an NHL arena. Something the NHL Players Association is very against.

NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh has been in some back and forth “chirping” with the Coyotes management about everything from lack of transparency and the issues that come along with an NHL team playing in a building that holds less than 5,000 people and last season didn’t even have a visiting team locker room.

In the meantime, Salt Lake City and the Smith Entertainment Group are lining up their ducks in preparation of getting an NHL team, whether it’s expansion or relocation, including passing legislation and getting funding of $1 billion and up to 50 acres to create an entertainment district in hopes of revitalizing downtown Salt Lake with the help of a new pro sports team.

RELATED: Answering The Most Asked Questions Regarding NHL Coming To Utah

Puck Report is a podcast all about Utah hockey, from interviews with NHL stars to which Grizzlies players are about to take the next step, Utah Puck Report has everything for a Utah hockey fan. Find it wherever you find podcasts or on KSLSports.com. The show is hosted by KSL Sports’ hockey insider, Jay Stevens. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram. 

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NHL Commissioner Comments On Arizona Coyotes Land/Arena Situation