Arizona Coyotes could join long list of NHL, other major pro sports teams to relocate

Arizona fans have had professional sports teams relocate to the state, but the state hasn't ever been on the other end, where a team relocated from Arizona.

That could soon change, with the speculation and rumors about the Arizona Coyotes potentially relocating to Salt Lake City.

Ask any fan of teams that have gone through the relocation process: It isn't fun, nor pretty to lose your professional sports team.

In 1988, Arizona was the beneficiary of a team relocating, as the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals relocated to Arizona to become the Phoenix Cardinals, eventually becoming the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.

In 1996, the state benefited again when the Winnipeg Jets relocated to Arizona, becoming the Phoenix Coyotes, before changing their name to the Arizona Coyotes in 2014.

Will the Coyotes franchise now be on the move again, relocating to Utah?

Rumors continue to swirl around a potential move for the team, and it has anguished the loyal fans of the franchise, who may soon know what other faithful fans of relocated teams have endured through the years.

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NHL relocation history

The Coyotes, should they move from Arizona, would join a small club of teams to relocate in the league's history:

  • 1976: California Golden Seals relocated to become the Cleveland Barons

  • 1976: Kansas City Scouts relocated to become the Colorado Rockies

  • 1978: Cleveland Barons merged with the Minnesota North Stars

  • 1980: Atlanta Flames relocated to become the Calgary Flames

  • 1982: Colorado Rockies relocated to become the New Jersey Devils

  • 1993: Minnesota North Stars relocated to become the Dallas Stars

  • 1995: Quebec Nordiques relocated to become the Colorado Avalanche

  • 1996: Winnipeg Jets relocated to become the Phoenix Coyotes

  • 1997: Hartford Whalers relocated to become the Carolina Hurricanes

  • 2011: Atlanta Thrashers relocated to become the Winnipeg Jets

More: Arizona Coyotes' silence on Salt Lake City relocation rumors angers fans

NFL relocation history

Arizona also has a spot in NFL relocation history, landing the Cardinals from St. Louis.

The early years of pro football saw plenty of franchises move, many from smaller towns to major cities in the 1920s and '30s. For example, the Decatur Staleys in 1921 moved to Chicago to become the Bears, and in 1934 the Portsmouth Spartans became the Detroit Lions.

Things settled down a bit. The franchise we know today as the Washington Commanders relocated in 1937 from Boston, and the Cleveland Rams set out for Los Angeles in 1946. The latter move was in part a response to a threat in Cleveland from a franchise in a new competitive league, the All-America Football Conference. Interestingly, just three years later the NFL absorbed three teams from that league: the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Colts (which folded three years later and were succeeded by a new Colts franchise in 1953).

What today might be considered the modern era of the NFL began in 1960 with the arrival of yet another upstart competitor, the American Football League, which would force another merger that saw teams from both leagues start playing together under the NFL banner in 1970.

Since the dawn of the AFL in 1960, here are all of the AFL/NFL franchise relocations:

  • 1960: Chicago Cardinals relocated to become the St. Louis Cardinals

  • 1961 Los Angeles Chargers relocated to become the San Diego Chargers

  • 1963: Dallas Texas relocated to become the Kansas City Chiefs

  • 1982: Oakland Raiders relocated to become the Los Angeles Raiders

  • 1984: Baltimore Colts relocated to become the Indianapolis Colts

  • 1988: St. Louis Cardinals relocated to become the Phoenix Cardinals

  • 1995: Los Angeles Raiders relocated to become the Oakland Raiders

  • 1995: Los Angeles Rams relocated to become the St. Louis Rams

  • 1996: Cleveland Browns relocated to become the Baltimore Ravens

  • 1997: Houston Oilers relocated to become the Tennessee Oilers (later renamed Titans)

  • 2016: St. Louis Rams relocated to become Los Angeles Rams

  • 2017: San Diego Chargers relocated to become Los Angeles Chargers

  • 2020: Oakland Raiders relocated to become Las Vegas Raiders

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MLB relocation history

Thankfully, Arizona doesn't have a spot in this list, because the Diamondbacks were an expansion team.

Like other sports, baseball's seen a lot of movement in its history dating back to the 19th century. Regarding franchises that exist today, the oldest relocation belongs to the Baltimore Orioles, who were born in 1901 as the Milwaukee Brewers, played one season there before moving to St. Louis to become the Browns, and then again to Baltimore in 1954.

With that, here are all the MLB team relocations starting in the 1950s:

  • 1953: Boston Braves relocated to become Milwaukee Braves

  • 1954: St. Louis Browns relocated to become Baltimore Orioles

  • 1955: Philadelphia Athletics relocated to become Kansas City Athletics

  • 1958: Brooklyn Dodgers relocated to become Los Angeles Dodgers

  • 1958: New York Giants relocated to become San Francisco Giants

  • 1961: Washington Senators relocated to become Minnesota Twins

  • 1966: Milwaukee Braves relocated to become Atlanta Braves

  • 1966: Los Angeles Angels relocated to become Anaheim Angels

  • 1968: Kansas City Athletics relocated to become Oakland Athletics

  • 1970: Seattle Pilots relocated to become Milwaukee Brewers

  • 1972: Washington Senators (the second version) relocated to become Texas Rangers

  • 2004: Montreal Expos relocated to become Washington Nationals

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NBA relocation history

Arizona also doesn't have a spot in this list, with the Suns starting out as an NBA expansion franchise.

The NBA is the youngest of the four legacy men's pro leagues, beginning in 1946, but there's been quite a few franchise shifts over the years, and like the NFL dealt with a merger, absorbing the American Basketball Association in 1976:

  • 1951: Tri-Cities Blackhawks relocated to become Milwaukee Hawks

  • 1955: Milwaukee Hawks relocated to become St. Louis Hawks

  • 1957: Fort Wayne Pistons relocated to become Detroit Pistons

  • 1957: Rochester Royals relocated to become Cincinnati Royals

  • 1960: Minneapolis Lakers relocated to become Los Angeles Lakers

  • 1962: Philadelphia Warriors relocated to become San Francisco Warriors

  • 1963: Chicago Zephyrs relocated to become Baltimore Bullets

  • 1963: Syracuse Nationals relocated to become Philadelphia 76ers

  • 1968: New Jersey Americans relocated to become New York Nets

  • 1968: St. Louis Hawks relocated to become Atlanta Hawks

  • 1971: San Diego Rockets relocated to become Houston Rockets

  • 1971: San Francisco Warriors relocated to become Golden State Warriors

  • 1972: Cincinnati Royals relocated to become Kansas City-Omaha Kings

  • 1973: Baltimore Bullets relocated to become Washington Wizards

  • 1973: Dallas Chaparrals relocated to become San Antonio Spurs

  • 1977: New York Nets relocated to become New Jersey Nets

  • 1978: Buffalo Braves relocated to become San Diego Clippers

  • 1979: New Orleans Jazz relocated to become Utah Jazz

  • 1984: San Diego Clippers relocated to become Los Angeles Clippers

  • 1985: Kansas City Kings relocated to become Sacramento Kings

  • 2001: Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to become Memphis Grizzlies

  • 2002: Charlotte Hornets relocated to become New Orleans Hornets

  • 2008: Seattle SuperSonics relocated to become Oklahoma City Thunder

  • 2012: New Jersey Nets relocated to become Brooklyn Nets

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Sports relocation history: Arizona Coyotes next pro team to relocate?