The Arizona Coyotes are a professional ice hockey team based in Phoenix metropolitan area. Check out Where will the Arizona Coyotes move to.

Where will the Arizona Coyotes move to.

Founded on December 27, 1971, as the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association (WHA), they were one of four franchises absorbed into the NHL after the WHA had ceased operations, joining on June 22, 1979.

The Jets moved to Phoenix on July 1, 1996, and were renamed the Phoenix Coyotes. The franchise name changed to the Arizona Coyotes on June 27, 2014.

Alex Meruelo became the majority owner on July 29, 2019.

Playing in a 4,600-capacity college hockey arena with a vague idea about the future isn’t going to cut it in a major professional league.

No question, hockey fans in the Valley of the Sun — and they are legion — deserved much better.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with a helpful list of cities the Coyotes can relocate to, listed with arena and arena capacity.

1. Salt Lake City, Vivint Arena, 14,000 : If these were power rankings, this entry would be No. 1, especially since Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake owner Ryan Smith met in late March with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, as reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

And Smith, who bought the building and the Jazz in December 2020, hasn’t exactly dampened the enthusiasm, replying to a fan’s tweet asking to bring the Stanley Cup Playoffs to Salt Lake City with a cryptic, “In motion.”

2. Houston, Toyota Center, 17,800 : This surely is the most logical destination. The NHL has been dying to move to Houston, the No. 5 U.S. market by population (No. 7 by TV market), for years.

Sure, it takes away a mega expansion-team fee, but don’t you think we’re at peak NHL? We’re good at 32 teams.

And there hasn’t been a passionate interest by owners of the NBA’s Rockets to have an NHL tenant in the building, frankly.

3. Sacramento, Golden 1 Center, tbd (17,608 for basketball) : The No. 20 TV market is in the mix because Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé apparently visited Ottawa as part of the Senators sales process, which could mean he’d be up for taking on an existing team.

This one feels like it works better on paper than in actuality, given there’s not much history of hockey in this city or in this particular arena.

But the NHL loves California, Sacramento is the No. 20 TV market and you could keep the team in the West. And they’d get to keep the San Jose Sharks company.

4. Kansas City, T-Mobile Center, 17,544 : Kansas City seems to get thrown into the mix every time it’s rumoured the Coyotes are moving, so why not toss the city in here again? But it does make some sense.

T-Mobile is operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Los Angeles Kings and Arena — so there’s familiarity with how the NHL does things — and is perfectly suited for hockey.

It was built in 2005, too, so is fairly modern. A team here would be in the Central time zone, closer to other teams in the division and also provide a good regional rival to the neighbouring St. Louis Blues.

5. Oklahoma City, Paycom Center, 15,152 and/or Tulsa, BOK Center, 17,096 : Most of the same stuff for Houston applies here, too. Same conference, time zone, instant rivalry with nearby Dallas (almost equidistant to Houston).

And if you’re concerned about moving from the No. 5 population market to the No. 20 market by population, OKC is bigger than Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Raleigh — and that’s without adding nearby Tulsa to the mix, which would put the team in the same population ballpark as Columbus and more than Nashville.

Sure, as with Houston, there would be building-sharing with an NBA team, but where it makes sense is that the pro facilities could be shared, unlike the Coyotes’ set up with ASU that includes practising on the community rink.

By Rishabh

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