Ranking of the 7 cities where the coyotes could move into next season (2023)

Ranking of the 7 cities where the coyotes could move into next season

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    Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The NHL's Southwestern Experiment is officially on thin ice.

    The future of the Arizona Coyotes is in doubt after Tempe voters voted down a $2.1 billion privately funded project that would have included a 16,000-seat arena and practice area as part of a sports and entertainment district.

    The Coyotes played in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale from 2003 to 2022 before the city terminated its lease. The termination forced the team to play its 2022–2023 home games at Arizona State University's Mullett Arena in Tempe.

    "The National Hockey League is deeply disappointed by the results of the public referendum on the Coyotes arena project in Tempe," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.said. "We will see with the Coyotes what the possibilities may be in the future."

    Moving to another city may be one of these options if a local real estate group does not exist and an agreement on a suitable home is not reached. That prospect was more than enough to get the B/R hockey staff together to discuss and rank the Coyotes' options for 2023-24.

    We ranked each city's likelihood based on the criteria of arena availability, property viability and recent reports.

    See what we came up with and leave your own idea in the comments.

7. Stay in Arizona

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    Chris Coduto/Getty Images

    We admit up front that it seems unlikely.

    Unless something dramatic happens soon, it appears the only option to keep the team in Arizona would be for the NBA's newest team governor — mortgage lender CEO Mat Ishbia — to extend its recent purchase of the Phoenix Suns with a deal for the Coyotes as well.

    In theory, he could convert the dual ownership into a new arena for both the Suns and Coyotes in Phoenix instead of trying again to redevelop the Footprint Center, which also houses the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and Indoor Football's Arizona Rattlers. the league is held.

    Early incarnations of the Coyotes played in an America West Arena that wasn't ideal for hockey in the late 1990s and early 2000s before landing full-time at the aforementioned Glendale dugouts.

    TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger suggested this was the ideal scenario.

    "What's probably best for everybody is the Coyotes and Suns partner on new construction," DregertweetedWednesday. "The cost of renovating a building that has just been renovated can be too expensive."

6. Quebec-stad

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    Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

    There is a lot to like about Quebec City.

    The Nordiques were one of four World Hockey Association teams to reach the NHL in 1979 and were among the most successful. They reached the playoffs nine times in 16 seasons, including trips to the conference finals in 1981-82 and 1984-85.

    In fact, six NHL Hall of Famers spent time with the Nordiques before moving to Denver after the 1994-95 season and becoming the Colorado Avalanche.

    A small market and an almost exclusively French-speaking fan base were among the problems back then. But the city is now home to the largest arena in Canada, not home to a full-time NHL team, and its population has grown to more than 550,000.

    And the uniforms. Oh, the uniforms.

    However, the NHL could ignore the idea, as Bettman reportedly wants to keep the Coyotes' future successor in the Western Conference rather than make up for the existing 16/16 split between the NHL and the Eastern Conference, according to Sportsnet'sElliot Friedman.

5. Atlanta

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    We're not quite sure what the mantra would be for the third time in Atlanta.

    Georgia's capital hosted the NHL's Flames in the 1972-73 season amid a territory and personnel war with the WHA. The team lasted eight seasons before being sold to an ownership group in Calgary to begin the 1980–81 season.

    Expansion brought another opportunity in the form of the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999 and another 11 years of relative irrelevance before another sale occurred in the North, this time to a bidder to move the struggling franchise to Winnipeg's former WHA hub.

    Atlanta remains the only city to have lost two NHL teams, but that's itlargest US television marketwithout an NHL team and the largest market not to have a team in all four major North American men's sports leagues. Giving Atlanta a third chance with an NHL team wouldn't be completely unprecedented, as Washington, D.C., had two major league baseball blowouts before the Montreal Expos arrived there in 2005.

    However, Atlanta does not currently have a permanent NHL-level arenaplans were announcedlast month for a $2 billion mixed-use campus and arena in Forsyth County with the goal of attracting another NHL franchise. Yet a move to Atlanta would also create an East-West imbalance.

4. Sacramento

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    David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    It's Triple Crown season. So why not include a dark horse like Sacramento?

    California's capital hockey expectations got a boost when Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman included it on his list ofpossible new homesfor the Coyotes during an episode of32 tankerpodcast.

    No major professional hockey team has ever called the city home, although the since-disbanded California Golden Seals played about 90 minutes away in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the still-active San Jose Sharks a few miles south.

    The Seals ended their tenure in Oakland in 1976 and moved to Cleveland, where they lasted two seasons before folding.

    Sacramento hosts the NBA's Kings at the Golden 1 Center, which opened in 2016 to replace ARCO Arena, which has since closed. It's possible the relocated Coyotes could play there, though the Sharks could object to another team in their vicinity.

3. Kansas City

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    Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

    If you're a fan of old-school NHL expansion cities, why not Kansas City?

    The scouts arrived with the Washington Capitals to begin the 1974-75 season, but lasted only two years before leaving for Denver to join the Colorado Rockies.

    Six seasons in Colorado preceded another move that brought the New Jersey Devils.

    Loyal support for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals has created favorable conditions for a new team. An NHL-ready location is also available at the T-Mobile Center, and a team that would both increase the league's footprint in the Midwest and create an immediate rivalry with the St. Louis Blues.

    But it doesn't help that the most likely local suitors for an NHL team, the Hunt family, who own the NFL's Chiefs, aren't exactly on board with the idea.

    In fact, Lamar Hunt Jr. evolved from seeing the idea as a "reach" and the price tag as "ridiculously high" to the point where he no longer entertains the possibility.

    "I don't," hetoldofKansas City-ster. "It doesn't seem realistic."

2. Salt Lake City

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    AP Foto/Rick Bowmer

    Cultivating new territorial land may mean moving to Salt Lake City.

    That is, if Utah Jazz governor Ryan Smith goes ahead with onepublicly expressed wishto land an NHL team alongside their NBA franchise.

    Friedman reported that in MarchSmith atewith the NHL's Bettman following an NBA board meeting in New York City. Smith is a founding member of Qualtrics, an experience management company founded in 2002, and Friedman also reported that he was interested in the Pittsburgh Penguins before they were finally sold in 2021.

    "I was told to keep his name on my radar because he's interested in the NHL," Friedman said, "and the NHL is very interested in him."

    Smith Entertainment Group is the parent company of the Jazz and has interests in Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake, the NWSL's Utah Royals and Vivint Arena. The arena hosted the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights in a 2021 preseason game.

    The venue can accommodate around 20,000 fans for basketball.

1. Houston

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    AP's photo

    If things go well, Arizona's loss could end up being Houston's gain.

    Houston Rockets governor Tilman Fertitta has long been known to have an interest in bringing the NHL to the city following the WHA's previously successful relationship with the Houston Eros in the 1970s and other minor league entities through 2013.

    The Eros were among the WHA's most successful franchises from 1972 to 1978, winning four division titles and two Avco Cups before the team ceased operations after not being one of four WHA teams admitted to the NHL.

    Hall of Famer Gordie Howe scored 121 goals with the Eros in 285 WHA games from 1973 to 1977.

    Bettman said Fertitta would be involved with any potential Houston franchise because of his tenure with the Rockets, who would share residence at the Toyota Center site.

    The arena seats 18,104 for basketball and 17,800 for hockey.

    "Not a month goes by where we don't talk about the NHL," Fertitta said.toldofHouston mattersradio show in 2019. "And that's definitely something I look forward to bringing to Houston, Texas one day."

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