Arizona Coyotes to Salt Lake City relocation speculation returns amid new arena roadblocks

The Arizona Coyotes have long been linked to Salt Lake City as a possible relocation destination, should the NHL team not be able to land a new arena in the Phoenix area.

That speculation has heated up in the midst of the latest developments with the franchise's pursuit of a new home.

Scottsdale mayor David Ortega recently came out against the Coyotes' plan for a new arena near his city in northeast Phoenix, indicating that the team wouldn't be able to use water from his city for the proposed arena and land development, should the team win a public auction for the land, creating another wrinkle in the ongoing arena saga for the NHL franchise.

"As it stands today, the fantasy hockey project must move west, away from Scottsdale," Ortega wrote in a statement.

The city of Phoenix attached a letter of recommendations about zoning, traffic, water and sewer infrastructure that would be required for a developer to add to meet the demands of a new entertainment district if it were to win the land auction. Phoenix projected the costs to be upward of $80 million on top of the cost of the land itself.

Interestingly, on the same day that Ortega issued his statement, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith posted a survey on social media, asking for name suggestions for an NHL team in the state, "If an NHL team were to come to Utah."

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Arizona Coyotes to Salt Lake City relocation speculation reignites

The Coyotes have been linked to Salt Lake City before, and the speculation about the team possibly relocating to Salt Lake City reignited in the wake of Ortega's statement and Smith's social media survey.

Bleacher Report re-ranked the Top 5 relocation options for the Coyotes amid the latest news about the arena saga and had Salt Lake City No. 1 on the list.

Joe Yerdon wrote: "Amazingly, Salt Lake City, Utah has jumped quickly to the top of the list. The owner of the Utah Jazz, Ryan Smith, made it clear that his group not only is interested in bringing the NHL to Utah, but he has a plan in place to either bring a team that wishes to relocate and get a new arena built for them soon or that he's willing to play the long game and go for an expansion franchise. Smith even went so far as to post a survey on Twitter to ask NHL fans in Utah what they'd want the team's nickname to be should one land there. Owners with money to pull it off and a vested interest in bringing the NHL to their city are a surefire way to move to the top of the list and the Smiths are all about doing it. Suppose they were to become the new home for the Coyotes. In that case, they'd have a natural location to have rivalries with Colorado and continue to be rivals with Vegas, albeit in a different division. Having a Salt Lake team in the Central would ease travel for the Avalanche, too. Considering how clear they've been about their desire to land an NHL team, you'd have to think they'd be the favorites, especially because it's not a guarantee the league would expand (although that seems more and more likely as time goes on)."

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The Hockey News wrote that "the prospect of the Coyotes relocating is very real."

Ken Campbell wrote of the latest speculation: "Does this mean the Coyotes are doomed? Not necessarily. But even if they're successful in bidding for the land, they have a lot of work to do. One thing we do know, though, is that if they are not, the prospect of the Coyotes relocating is very real."

The Salt Lake Tribune wrote that the Coyotes losing the land auction in northeast Phoenix would be a win for Utah.

Gordon Monson wrote: "Bottom line: If the Coyotes don’t win the auction, curtains may drop on the ice in Phoenix. Therefore and forthwith, enter Salt Lake City. The NHL would prefer the Coyotes stay in Phoenix, and Coyotes ownership wants to stay there, but … if they can’t, they can’t. Back to SLC. Should Smith want to buy the Coyotes? Would they be available to him? The answers are yes and maybe. Any NHL team that has proper ownership, ownership that has vision and that makes solid decisions will succeed. Would the Coyotes — or whatever they would come to be called — thrive in Salt Lake? See the answer above. If Smith has good judgment and is willing to spend more of his money."

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Social media had thoughts on the Coyotes' possible move to Utah:

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Coyotes to Utah relocation rumors return amid arena roadblocks