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Coyotes owner gives up: he won’t reactivate the club
Credit: Getty Images

In the last few days, we’ve learned that Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo won’t be able to bid on the famous auction to buy land for an arena.

The auction is no longer taking place (with only a few days’ notice), and the club’s owner is angry because it took the wind out of his sails.

But now journalist Craig Morgan (GOPHNX) tells us that for Alex Meruelo, this is the final nail in the coffin of the desert franchise. He will no longer seek to reactivate his franchise, and the Coyotes staff have reportedly been informed.

What you need to know is that the Coyotes have not officially moved to Salt Lake City. The Utah HC is an expansion franchise that purchased the assets of the Coyotes, an inactive organization for the time being.

The deal was that Mr. Meruelo had five years to build an arena and obtain an “expansion franchise” with the billion dollars received by Ryan Smith, Utah’s owner.

He obviously won’t have time to rebuild another one by 2029. He had five years to do it, but in two months, it’s (already) over.

He had kept the story of his Jets/Coyotes franchise in Arizona, but obviously, the end of the Coyotes story will be in 2024. So it’s safe to assume that the Gary Bettman deal didn’t work out.

I can’t help but think that Gary Bettman loves Arizona’s potential. Does he think that one day, without Alex Meruelo, he could bring a club back to Arizona?

After all, in the eyes of one Phoenix city employee, the current Coyotes owner is a moron and nobody wants to work with him. Would the situation be different with another man in charge?

Maybe.

I’m not saying it’s likely in the short term. That said, we agree that Gary Bettman loves the market and might try to find another solution to bring hockey back to the desert.

Has he found a way to get rid of a bad owner? Was it his plan from the start, knowing that Mr. Meruelo wasn’t going to succeed?

Learning this on the day the Stanley Cup is won is probably not what the commissioner wanted. Nor was the Linus Ullmark deal, for that matter.

Overtime

– Yup.

– We understand why he wants to stay.

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