Reports: Alex Meruelo abandons plan to bring NHL back to Arizona

League: NHL

Posted on: 25 Jun, 2024 at 11:15 PM

Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

With no path to construct a new arena in the Phoenix area, Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo is abandoning his plans to revive the franchise, multiple reports said Tuesday.

Meruelo told his remaining staff Monday that he is no longer pursuing a new arena, which was requisite for bringing an NHL team back to Arizona in the future. The franchise is likely to be disbanded within a month, Sportico reported.

When Meruelo agreed to sell his team to the owners of the NBA's Utah Jazz earlier this year, the league assured Meruelo he could reactivate the Coyotes franchise and trigger an expansion draft if he could build a new home arena within five years.

Meruelo's most recent option was to purchase a land parcel in north Phoenix to and build an entertainment district and arena, but the state canceled the land auction scheduled for last Friday. The land department said Meruelo did not have the correct special-use permit in place before the auction.

Jim Waring, the Phoenix councilman whose district covers the land the Coyotes hoped to buy, told the Arizona Republic, "(The Coyotes should) get a zoning attorney. They don't have one. Get in the city, come up with a plan and go through the process. Then buy it."

The franchise spent the past two seasons playing in Mullett Arena, a 4,600-seat hockey arena on the campus of Arizona State in Tempe.

The team formerly known as the Coyotes will play in Salt Lake City as the Utah Hockey Club in 2024-25 before a permanent team name and branding are finalized.

--Field Level Media