KidsportsmtTop NewsNHL Salt Lake City Preparations: Coyotes Relocation Plan
KidsportsmtTop NewsNHL Salt Lake City Preparations: Coyotes Relocation Plan
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NHL Salt Lake City Preparations: Coyotes Relocation Plan

Preparations are underway both behind the scenes and in the public eye in anticipation of a potential NHL team arriving in Salt Lake City, possibly as early as this fall.

Prospective owner Ryan Smith recently sought suggestions for a team name, hinting at progress in the process. Meanwhile, reports surfaced Wednesday indicating that the NHL has been devising contingency plans should the Arizona Coyotes relocate this summer.

According to a source familiar with the planning, the league has been drafting two versions of the schedule for next season—one for the Coyotes remaining in Arizona and another for a potential team in Utah. This person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, stressed that no final decisions have been made.

Typically, the NHL releases the schedule for the upcoming season in late June, after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals and prior to the opening of free agency in July. When asked about the situation and possible contingency plans last month, Commissioner Gary Bettman only stated, “We still have some time.”

While the NHL, Coyotes, and Smith Entertainment Group declined to comment on the dual-schedule report, various efforts are underway to prepare for the prospective relocation. League officials have reportedly updated team owners on the situation, though they emphasized that nothing has been finalized.

The potential sale to Smith would come after months of speculation, especially following the NBA’s Utah Jazz owner’s expression of interest in bringing an NHL team to Salt Lake City earlier this year. Smith’s group has been vocal about initiating an expansion process, a sentiment echoed by other interested parties in Atlanta.

The timing of these developments coincides with ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Coyotes, who are currently playing in a temporary 5,000-seat arena and seeking a permanent home. NHL Players’ Association executive director Marty Walsh has voiced frustration over the team’s situation, emphasizing the need for stability.

The Coyotes recently reaffirmed their commitment to securing land in Phoenix for a new arena and entertainment district, with an auction scheduled for June 27. Meanwhile, plans for Salt Lake City involve utilizing the existing Delta Center as a temporary venue until a new facility is constructed, with discussions between Smith’s group and the league ongoing since 2022.

Despite speculation about potential expansion teams in Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and Houston, the NHL has stated it currently has no plans to expand beyond its current 32-team structure.

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