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Report: Coyotes players informed team moving to Utah

Norm Hall / National Hockey League / Getty

The Arizona Coyotes were informed prior to Friday's game that the team will be moving to Utah, reports Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Players and staff will be given an opportunity to visit Salt Lake City to check out the facilities, Friedman added.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong met with the players on Friday evening. There, he told the team that the NHL has facilitated a sale to the Smith Entertainment Group, the owner of the NBA's Utah Jazz, reports ESPN's Emily Kaplan. However, the deal is not done yet.

The players weren't made available to the media following Arizona's 3-2 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers, and head coach Andre Tourigny said he'd only answer questions about the game, according to TSN's Ryan Rishaug.

On Saturday, Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo issued an all-caps statement through the team saying he hoped to "address these issues" as soon as he can.

News broke on Wednesday indicating that the franchise could relocate to Utah as soon as next season. The league was reportedly drafting two versions of the 2024-25 schedule, one with the Coyotes in Arizona and another with the team in Salt Lake City's Delta Center, which is home to the Jazz.

The NHL has informed SEG that a hockey-specific upgrade will need to be made to the Delta Center for it to be the permanent home of the Utah-bound Coyotes, per Kaplan. The Utah State Senate has already passed a bill to fund a new entertainment district downtown for an NHL franchise.

The relocation may be announced on Wednesday, the date of the Coyotes' last home game at Mullett Arena, according to PHNX Sports' Craig Morgan. However, sources told Friedman that it may not be possible to make the announcement that quickly.

In early April, the Coyotes announced their commitment to winning an upcoming land auction for a 110-acre tract in North Phoenix, which would house a new arena and entertainment district for the franchise.

The Coyotes attempted to secure a new arena in Tempe last May, but residents voted against building a $2.1-billion entertainment district in the area.

Arizona has been home to an NHL franchise since 1996, when the original Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix.

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