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Arizona Coyotes Officially Relocating to Salt Lake City – The Hockey Writers – Arizona Coyotes

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It’s official. The Arizona Coyotes are no more. The team has been sold to Ryan Smith, who will relocate the team to Salt Lake City, Utah, effective immediately. Here are things you need to know about the relocation.

Ryan Smith Is Dedicated

Smith has been lobbying for an NHL franchise for a while. And now, he gets one. 

The native of Eugene, Oregon, has owned the NBA’s Utah Jazz since 2020 and has been eager to expand the sports life of Salt Lake City. He knows the citizens will make sure the team is supported, even though the city has never been home to another professional major league sports team.

“The one thing I do know about Utah is, people show up,” Smith said. “We just had the NCAA Tournament here for basketball, and the entire arena was full. It’s just different. It’s just different here. I mean, [the Jazz have] 291 straight sellout games at the Delta Center. I think every concert that’s come into town has sold out. It’s just what we do. We show up. I have a lot of faith in the people of Utah.”

Related: Salt Lake City Is a Good Gamble for the NHL

Smith built up his name by founding Qualtrics with his brother Jared and his father Scott; the company creates customer and employee experience feedback software. Since then, he’s purchased the Jazz with his wife Ashley, along with investing in MLS’s Real Salt Lake.

Smith has a lot of work to do after purchasing the Coyotes. The first thing that will have to be solved is the Delta Center. The arena is not currently hockey-friendly, only seating around 10,000 for the NHL preseason games that have been played there. Smith is planning on doing something different when he renovates the arena. He still wants the fans to be as close as possible to the action when they’re watching basketball, but he wants his new hockey fans to feel the same way.

“We want to actually use our arena and really spend time creating the best dual-sport arena that exists out there because we want to keep people as close as we possibly can or as vertical as we possibly can to watch both games,” Smith said. “… How do we maintain that while making it really cool and innovative for hockey? And it’s super fun and challenging, but we’re going to do it.”

That thinking is probably one of the reasons why NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the board of governors want Smith on their team. His creative thinking and devotion to the fans are like no other. His persistence is what got him a dinner with Bettman…

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