How Meruelo can bring hockey, and the Coyotes, back to Arizona

On Thursday, the NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale and relocation of the Arizona Coyotes. While the bones of the franchise, including roster, draft picks and hockey operations, will head to Salt Lake City, Utah, the Coyotes aren’t dead yet. 

Technically, for now, the Coyotes are an “inactive” NHL team, while the franchise that continues to play in Salt Lake City will be sold to Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and operate as a separate entity. 

That sticking point allows now ex-owner Alex Meruelo the opportunity to resurrect the team in Arizona, with the only stumbling block being the construction of a new arena. 

The NHL’s deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski that if Meruelo secures a new arena in Arizona, the Coyotes’ reactivation won’t require league approval

According to the league, Meruelo must have a “fully constructed new, state-of-the-art facility appropriate for an NHL team within five years.” If successful, the Coyotes would essentially re-join the league as an expansion club. 

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