"He should be in jail" "This night can't get any better": NHL fans rejoice over Alex Meruelo's exit from Arizona Coyotes ownership

Syndication: Phoenix
NHL fans react to news that Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo is parting ways with the franchise (Image credit: Imagn)

The Arizona Coyotes are likely no more. On Tuesday, following Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, a report emerged indicating that Alex Meruelo was walking away from Arizona Coyotes ownership, and closing the book on building an arena for the team. The news excited fans, many of whom believe that with Meruelo out of the way, the door has been opened for an expansion team.

The news comes on the heels of the ASLD's (Arizona State Land Department) decision to pull the plug on an auction set for Jun. 27. The original plan was for Meruelo to bid in the auction and begin construction of a massive arena on the 95-acres of land.

Given that the auction was canceled, and construction on a new arena would have needed to be 50% completed within 3.5 years for the franchise to return, Meruelo is calling it quits.

According to a report from PHNX Sports' Craig Morgan, team ownership broke the news to members of the Coyotes staff earlier this week. Although the NHL has yet to announce the news formally, fans were quick to react to the latest update regarding the future of the Coyotes.

"He should be in jail" - One Arizona Coyotes fan wrote
"This night can’t get any better" - Another added

Other local fans were quick to celebrate the news as well:

"This all but guarantees hockey will be back in Arizona." - One wrote
"Best thing to ever happen to Arizona hockey" - Another fan proclaimed

Others weren't surprised by the news given how much Meruelo made:

"This was highly predictable. As soon as I heard the amount he was getting, there’s no way, he’d invest it back into a hockey team. Additionally, not a single fan would’ve supported him as owner. It was bound to fail worst than the 1st time around!" - One wrote
"Bro's taking his 1 billion and running away." - Another added

Looking at the future of hockey in Arizona on the heels of the latest news regarding the Arizona Coyotes

As many fans were quick to point out, with Alex Meruelo out of the way, the door has been opened to a new expansion team in Arizona. According to the aforementioned PHNX Sports article, two ownership groups have already expressed an interest in taking the steps needed to bring hockey back to AZ.

Of course, in both cases, ownership groups would still have to jump the same hurdles that Meruelo faced in building a venue to host the team. The big question regarding a new ownership group building an arena is where they would be able to do so.

The 95 acres of land Meruelo was planning to bid on for the Arizona Coyotes is reportedly not zoned for an arena. In addition, other potential locations, such as on Native American tribal land, have also been ruled out.

On top of that, with Atlanta, Quebec, Kansas, and Houston all eager to land expansion teams, Phoenix may have some competition. In addition, commissioner Gary Bettman revealed back in February that the league isn't looking to expand again.

However, that doesn't mean talks between the NHL and potential expansion cities won't be taking place. Given that, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the NHL, and for Arizona Coyotes fans as they hold out hope for another NHL franchise in The Valley.

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Edited by James Carter
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