It's official! NHL approves Coyotes relocation to Salt Lake City

Posted at 1:46 PM, Apr 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-19 15:33:32-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Rev up the Zamboni, the NHL is officially coming to Salt Lake City!

The NHL's Board of Governors approved the relocation of the Arizona Coyotes to northern Utah Thursday, with the team set to take the ice next season. The move was the final step in a process that began making headlines last week.

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Team owner Ryan Smith used just 7 words to welcome the NHL to Utah, posting, "The NHL is here! Utah let's go!" to social media.

While expected, especially after the league's executive committee approved the move Tuesday, the stamp of approval by NHL owners opens a new era for hockey in the Beehive State as Utah welcomes another professional sports franchise.

“As everyone knows, Utah is a vibrant and thriving state, and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Jeff Rhineer below discusses the NHL's move to Salt Lake City:

NHL to SLC discussion

The Smith Entertainment Group will take the reins of a Coyotes team that continually had trouble finding a permanent home in Arizona, and ended its season Wednesday without making the playoffs.

“We are committed to building a Stanley Cup contending team and are thrilled to welcome incredible players, coaches, staff, and their families to Utah," said Ryan and Ashley Smith. "Today is a great day for Utah, for hockey, and for building a legacy that will have a lasting impact for generations to come,”

All of the Utah NHL team's games will air for free on Utah 16.

With a possible new arena in downtown Salt Lake City still a few years away, the NHL team will immediately share the Delta Center with the Utah Jazz, also owned by the Smith's. In a post to X, the Jazz welcomed their arena siblings, as did Big Utah League, the organization looking to bring a Major League Baseball to the Power District.

The NHL released a hype video below after the Utah announcement:

NHL Hype Video

The Smith's will officially welcome Bettman and the league to Utah during a press conference Friday at the arena.

As with most Utahns, Gov. Spencer Cox was enthusiastic about the announcement bringing the highest level of pro hockey to the state.

“Utah is once again at the center of the sports world as we welcome the NHL to Utah," he said in a statement. "Thanks to Ryan and Ashley Smith, Salt Lake City just keeps getting better and better. The whole state will benefit from this new franchise and we couldn’t be more excited by this announcement.”

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The governor's excitement was echoed by other local leaders.

“This announcement is about more than bringing an NHL team to Salt Lake City — it’s a defining moment in our trajectory, becoming a catalyst for a positive vision that integrates community, connection, and more possibilities for families, residents, and visitors to experience our capital city," said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

The Coyotes brand will remain with now-former Arizona owner Alex Meruelo, with the Utah team set for a complete rebrand encompassing a nickname and franchise colors.