Coyotes could have a decision on future in Arizona as early as this weekend, sources say

The plans for the Arizona Coyotes’ future in the desert could be announced in the next few weeks and as early as this weekend, as reported by Frank Serravalli on the Daily Faceoff website.

On Friday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the ongoing search for a permanent home during his news conference at the NHL All-Star Game. Bettman said owner Alex Meruelo is focusing on one piece of land and it will be addressed in “the next few weeks.”

The Coyotes have not found a permanent arena solution since moving out of Glendale in 2022. The Coyotes have been playing home games at Mullett Arena on Arizona State's Tempe campus since the 2022-23 season. They have been searching for a location on privately owned land after an arena vote in Tempe failed last May.

Just after Bettman commented on the arena search, the Coyotes confirmed they are moving forward with a plan to buy state trust land in north Phoenix months.

More: Arizona Coyotes apply to buy state land in north Phoenix with eye on new arena

An application is the first step of a process to buy public land given to Arizona when it became a state in 1912. Millions of acres were endowed to Arizona, and those acres can be leased or sold to benefit services. The largest beneficiary is K-12 education.

That land is managed by the Arizona State Land Department and parcels must go to a public auction before they can be sold to the highest bidder.

NHL Players Association executive director Marty Walsh had sharp words for the Coyotes’ arena search on the same day the report came out.

“The time it would take to buy land and build an arena could be more than 10 years,” he said, adding, “As far as I’m concerned, that’s unacceptable on behalf of the players on that team and it should be unacceptable for the league.”  

Other options aside from the private land were addressed in the report, including the potential for Meruelo to sell the franchise to another local business interest who would keep the team in Arizona.

The Coyotes were also linked to relocation rumors once again when Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith asked the NHL to initiate a formal expansion process, but added that the Delta Center was ready for anything.

“(Smith Entertainment Group) has also made clear its immediate ability to welcome an NHL team to Utah, using Delta Center as an interim home arena for an NHL franchise.”

'Issue of transparency': Arizona Coyotes' land interest raises ethics flags for Gov. Katie Hobbs

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Coyotes may have decision on future soon, sources say