NHL Preparing for Possibility Coyotes Play in Salt Lake City Next Season, per Report

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL is bracing for the possibility that the Coyotes will not call Arizona home next season, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reports.

The league is drafting two versions of next season‘s schedule, according to Seravalli—one where the Coyotes continue to play in the Phoenix area and another where they relocate to Salt Lake City. “That does not mean the NHL has firmed up plans to relocate the franchise yet, just that the league has a viable contingency plan for next season,” Seravalli clarified.

The Coyotes are currently playing their home games at the 4,600-seat Mullett Arena on the campus of Arizona State University after losing their lease to play at Gila River Arena due to unpaid taxes. The franchise has played at ASU since the start of the 2022–23 season and has a deal in place to play there next season, with an option to use the arena again for the ’25–26 season.

The team’s pursuit of a new permanent home has hit several roadblocks. In May 2023, voters rejected a plan to build a new $2.1 billion arena in downtown Tempe. (The project would have included $1.9 billion in private funding.) The Coyotes’ latest plan is to purchase a 110-acre plot of land on the northern outskirts of Phoenix to build an arena. The parcel is set to be sold at a state land auction in late June. That site is located on the border of Phoenix and Scottsdale, and Scottsdale mayor David Ortega said this week that he opposes the arena project because his city lacks the necessary water and sewer infrastructure.

Utah billionaire Ryan Smith, who owns the NBA’s Jazz and Real Salt Lake of MLS, is spearheading the effort to bring an NHL team to Salt Lake. On Monday, he asked fans to propose team names for a potential Utah NHL franchise.

“We are interested. We are ready, and we’re a partner,” Smith told The Athletic in a story published Wednesday. “The arena is done. We think we have a solution. And that’s my message to the NHL.”

Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).