Apr 15, 2024 - Sports

Utah may welcome an NHL franchise sooner than you think

Arizona Coyotes hockey players celebrate in uniform on the rink.

Josh Brown of the Arizona Coyotes is congratulated after scoring a goal on April 10. Photo: Derek Cain/Getty Images

Salt Lake City may be welcoming an NHL franchise before it gets an MLB team.

The big picture: Arizona Coyotes players were told Friday that they were moving to Utah as the NHL and Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith attempt to facilitate a sale, ESPN reported.

  • The team could begin playing at the Delta Center as early as next season. The potential relocation comes as the franchise faces arena issues in Arizona.

Zoom in: Bringing an NHL franchise to Utah has the backing of local and state officials.

  • Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill last month that would help fund a new NHL arena downtown by increasing sales tax.

What they're saying: "We're showing that we're ready and that's what we're putting forward," Ryan Smith told The Athletic on his conversations with the NHL. "We talk to them frequently. They know our interest. They see what's going on. They see the value, and they're intrigued."

What's next: An official announcement could come as soon as this week, according to ESPN.

What we're watching: Salt Lake City and the Larry H. Miller Company are campaigning for an MLB expansion team, with a new stadium proposed on the west side.

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