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NHL governors don’t believe in building an arena in Arizona
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
The Coyotes have officially left the desert.

Some of the players were welcomed by their new fans in Salt Lake City today, which must be encouraging.

It makes for great pictures, at least, because you can see how excited the fans are:

The Arizona franchise is now inactive, but we know the NHL hasn’t closed the door on a potential return of hockey there.

The Board of Directors has approved a plan that allows Alex Meruelo (former owner) the right to reactivate the franchise within five years if he is able to build a new amphitheatre in Arizona… But therein lies the problem.

Because if Pierre LeBrun’s recent comments are anything to go by, it doesn’t look good (yet):

I’ve yet to hear of an NHL governor who believes Meruelo will be able to build an arena and revive the Coyotes franchise within the allotted five years. – Pierre LeBrun

LeBrun said this on X / Twitter by sharing a piece by Katie Strang (The Athletic), in which we read that Alex Meruelo is to blame for the team’s move.

But in said article, there’s also an interesting quote from Randy Keating, a Tempe City Council member.

Keating argues that, in his eyes, it’s virtually impossible for Meruelo to be able to rebuild an amphitheater because he’s never done it as an owner… And more importantly, because there’s “no one who’s going to want to do business” with him.

Yikes. Let’s just say that Alex Meruelo isn’t the most popular guy in the desert right now…

But you have to wonder if an (NHL) arena could be built there under a different owner.

If Meruelo loses the rights within five years and another investor wants to get involved, could it work?

If not, if the NHL finds (another) more reliable investor… Could the Coyotes return to Glendale, where they used to play before being evicted because Alex Meruelo didn’t pay his taxes?

That’s a lot of questions, but it’s worth asking. Because we know how much Gary Bettman would love to have a club back in Arizona…

In brief

– What will the new club be called?

– Another coach loses his job in the NHL.

– Tough break for the Knights.

– Beautiful club!

– One step at a time.

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