Update on whether Meruelo still wants to bring hockey back to Arizona

Cooper Godin
May 17, 2024  (9:01)

Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo.
Photo credit: AZCentral

Next season will mark the first time since early 1996 that the state of Arizona has been without a National Hockey League team as the Coyotes have become inactive and the franchise's players and staff have moved to Utah.

As part of this non-traditional relocation of the Coyotes to Salt Lake City, Utah, Arizona owner Alex Meruelo was given a five-year window to bring the team back, if he's able to secure land and build a new arena up to NHL standards.
Before the announcement of the Coyotes' move to Utah, Meruelo revealed his intent to participate in a land auction in North Phoenix to build a new arena. However, the timeline to have the arena completed didn't satisfy the National Hockey League because it meant the Coyotes would have to play at Mullett Arena for longer than they wanted. Because of this, the Coyotes were moved and Meruelo was given a promise that he could bring a team back within a five-year window, but has to inform the league 18 months in advance that he will be doing so.
It's been about a month since we last heard anything regarding the Arizona Coyotes or their owner Alex Meruelo and many were wondering if he was still going to follow through with the land auction in June. According to Craig Morgan, it appears Meruelo will be trying to win the land auction to build a new arena.
In a statement from Arielle Devorah, the spokesperson for Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said that Meruelo had a meeting with officials from the city weeks ago and he intends on participating in the auction and will develop the land if he wins.
The mayor's office also mentioned that they made it clear that they will not be using taxpayer funds to help build the arena.
"Mayor Gallego had a productive meeting with Alex Meruelo and his family a few weeks ago, and they spoke about Mr. Meruelo's plans to participate in the state land auction and, if successful, develop the north Phoenix site. The mayor believes professional hockey can thrive in the desert, but also made clear that she does not support using taxpayer funds, including property tax abatement, for sports arenas."

Hockey belongs in the desert and Arizona is a big market for the National Hockey League. Having to move the team, after years and years of trying to help the team stay in Arizona is something the NHL isn't happy about. But it's clear that the Coyotes need a stable ownership group in order to thrive, should they return in the coming years and it remains to be seen if Alex Meruelo is the right person to lead the ship.
17 MAI   |   142 ANSWERS
Update on whether Meruelo still wants to bring hockey back to Arizona

Do you think Alex Meruelo will bring the Coyotes back within five years?

Yes2920.4 %
No11379.6 %
Latest 10 stories