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NHL’s Coyotes Bid Farewell to Arizona Ahead of Move to Utah


The atmosphere was electric at the Mullet Arena in Tempe, Arizona, for what could be the last game of the season — and possibly ever in Arizona for the Coyotes.

The team has been linked to a move to Salt Lake City at the earliest next season. While no official announcement has been made yet, the National Hockey League (NHL) didn’t deny that Utah Jazz owner, Ryan Smith, is set to become the new majority owner of the franchise.

According to Alex M. Silverman of Sports Business Journal, Smith was asked on Wednesday about rumors suggesting he owned the Yotes and was bringing the team to Salt Lake City. Smith replied, “Everyone knows what’s on the internet, it’s no mystery”. Usually, not everything on the internet is true, but in this case, it is absolutely true.”

CNN reached out to the NHL for comment.

Despite the team’s 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers, Coyotes fans expressed their dismay over the potential move. A video clip showed fans chanting “Salt Lake sucks,” but those chants quickly turned into applause in the moments before the final buzzer.

Players and coaches embraced each other and came onto the ice to bid a potential farewell to the fans. A group photo was taken as fans looked on emotionally, and upon leaving the ice, players handed their sticks and other gear to the fans.

Last week, Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo said in a statement that he understands and empathizes with “the concern of our fans, our community, our partners, players, our front office, and all members of our team.”

Meruelo chimed in, saying, “There are a lot of things we’re still sorting through, so we can’t give any official statements just yet.” “But I want to assure you that I’m committed to tackling all these matters and addressing your concerns openly as soon as I can.”

Team legend Shane Doan joined the broadcast during the second intermission to talk about Arizona.

Doan said, “You know all the stuff people say about Arizona being a hockey state.” “I think it. You’ll never convince me otherwise.”

Josh, Doan’s son, who is a rookie player for the Coyotes, also had a message for the fans before the game.

Doan said, “Coyotes are still Arizona’s team for another day.”

The Coyotes had been playing at the Mullet Arena, a multi-purpose venue on the campus of Arizona State University, for the past two seasons.

The Solar Devil Arena, which opened in the fall of 2022, seats 5,000 spectators. It’s the tiniest NHL arena, smaller than the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg, Canada, where 15,061 fans can squeeze in.

The Coyotes previously played at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, before moving to Tempe.

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