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Utah NHL owner Smith says season ticket deposits now top 20,000


Owner Ryan Smith told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun Friday that Utah's NHL team has received just over 20,000 season-ticket deposits.

The news comes less than 24 hours after the NHL's Board of Governors unanimously approved sale of the Arizona Coyotes from Alex Meruelo to Smith and subsequent relocation to Salt Lake City for the 2024-25 season.

The team is expected play out of the Delta Center in the city's downtown core, the home of the Utah Jazz, which currently has about 12,000 unobstructed seats for hockey. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday Smith and his ownership group will raise the seating capacity to about 17,000 after renovations. 

“As everyone knows, Utah is a vibrant and thriving state, and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” Bettman said in a statement. “We are also delighted to welcome Ashley and Ryan Smith to the NHL family and know they will be great stewards of the game in Utah. We thank them for working so collaboratively with the League to resolve a complex situation in this unprecedented and beneficial way.

“The NHL’s belief in Arizona has never wavered. We thank Alex Meruelo for his commitment to the franchise and Arizona, and we fully support his ongoing efforts to secure a new home in the desert for the Coyotes. We also want to acknowledge the loyal hockey fans of Arizona, who have supported their team with dedication for nearly three decades while growing the game.”

The move ends years of uncertainty surrounding the Coyotes franchise and wraps up a nearly three-decade existence of mostly poor on-ice results and chronic mismanagement over the course of multiple owners.

Utah's team will not carry over the Coyotes moniker and will instead develop a new brand identity. LeBrun reported on Thursday's edition of Insider Trading the franchise may take until beyond the start of next season to pick a team name and Smith has hired a firm to look into branding for the NHL's newest franchise.

The Coyotes finished the 2023-24 campaign 36-41-5, missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in a row and 11th time in the past 12 seasons.