State Cancels Land Auction Crucial to Potential Arizona Coyotes Reactivation

Feb 27, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; View of a against the Arizona Coyotes logo on a jersey worn by a member of the team against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Bell Centre.
Feb 27, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; View of a against the Arizona Coyotes logo on a jersey worn by a member of the team against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Bell Centre. / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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When the Arizona Coyotes moved to Salt Lake City in April, there remained hope for the continued existence of NHL hockey in the Phoenix area. While the Utah Hockey Club acquired the Coyotes' on-ice assets, Arizona's name and identity remained owned by businessman Alex Meruelo in a sports version of suspended animation.

However, the Coyotes' chances of returning have taken a serious hit.

The Arizona State Land Department has canceled a land auction that had been deemed crucial to Arizona's chances of constructing a new arena, the government agency announced Friday.

“After much consideration, the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) has determined that it is in the best interest of the Trust to cancel the auction and reorder the steps,” the department said in a release. “ASLD recently confirmed that the proposed arena use will require a Special Use Permit, and as a result we are requesting that the applicant file for and receive a Special Use Permit prior to the auction."

The auction—scheduled for Thursday—had been seen as step one toward finding a new home for the Coyotes. Miracle Development, Arizona's development, had been listed as the only applicant.

Though the Coyotes' comeback attempt isn't dead yet, Arizona will now need to find a new land deal with the clock ticking.

"There is no land acquisition milestone, per se, but there is a land acquisition and 50-percent (arena) completion milestone in order to deliver reactivation notice, which must happen prior to December 31, 2027," deputy NHL commissioner Bill Daly told Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports in a piece published Friday.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in December 2022, having worked for The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword and Diamond Digest. Andres has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a double major in history .