Meruelo to sell Arizona Coyotes to Ryan Smith for $1.2 billion: Report

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
Alex Meruelo to sell Arizona Coyotes to Ryan Smith for $1.2 billion

In a significant move in the sports world, Alex Meruelo is set to sell the NHL's Arizona Coyotes for $1.2 billion to the NBA's Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith.

The news was reported by John Gambadoro, a sports radio talk show host on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix. Although the transaction has not yet been finalized, it is expected to go through smoothly.

Gambadoro revealed the news on X, formerly Twitter:

Under the reported terms, Alex Meruelo, the current Coyotes owner, would receive $1 billion from the sale. The remaining $200 million would go to the NHL to be distributed among the league's team owners as a relocation fee.

The plan would be for the team to temporarily play at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, home of the Utah Jazz, before moving to a new dedicated arena that would host both basketball and hockey.

Earlier this month, the Utah legislature approved funding for constructing a new multi-purpose venue.

After the funding bill was signed by Utah Governor Spencer Cox, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith released a joint statement praising the decision:

“With today's passage of the Capital City Reinvestment Zone bill, we are poised to invest deeply in Salt Lake City's downtown experience." the joint statement read.

Recently, Smith posted on social media asking for fan suggestions on a potential new nickname for a Utah-based NHL franchise.

If the deal is finalized, it would mark the end of the Arizona Coyotes' years-long struggle to find stability in Arizona amid arena and ownership challenges.

Andre Tourigny reflects on how relocation plans affected Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes head coach Andre Tourigny believes the constant relocation speculation surrounding the franchise this season has negatively impacted his team's performance.

Speaking before the Coyotes' recent road game versus the Vancouver Canucks, Tourigny pointed to Jan. 24 as the start of the team's struggles, coinciding with news of the Utah Jazz owner discussing bringing an NHL team to Salt Lake City:

"The first time that [relocation] rumor came, it was Jan. 24, and that's the day we started a 14-game losing streak, so we cannot pretend it did not affect our team," Tourigny said.
"Unfortunately, that had a huge impact on our season. We did not deal with it the right way at the time."

Prior to Jan. 24, the Coyotes were hanging around a playoff position despite sitting two points out. But the 14-game slide that followed essentially crushed Arizona's postseason aspirations.

However, despite the serious off-ice distractions, the Arizona Coyotes have recently shown some fight with an inspired 4-3 overtime road win against Vancouver and a 3-2 overtime victory versus Edmonton on Friday.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now