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The Arizona Coyotes Could Be Moving to Utah

I’m late getting to this, but ESPN reported on Wednesday that the NHL is preparing two schedules for next season: one with the Coyotes remaining in Arizona and one with the franchise relocated to Utah.

The Coyotes, who currently share an arena with the Arizona State University hockey team, are desperately in need of a new arena, but the league is reportedly skeptical of the team’s ability to overcome the financial and political hurdles that have so far blocked a new arena project in Arizona — hence the contingency plan of moving the team to Utah.

Per ESPN’s report, the team’s move to Utah could work like this:

The NHL would purchase the Coyotes from [current owner Alex] Meruelo in a deal believed to be worth around $1 billion. . … [A]fter purchasing the team, the NHL would then sell the Coyotes to [Utah Jazz owner Ryan] Smith at a price that could be as high as $1.3 billion — much higher than the $650 million expansion fee that the Seattle Kraken’s owners paid in 2021 to join the league. … [T]he NHL’s other 31 owners would split $300 million as part of the sale.

As for the team’s new home arena:

The relocation plan, according to sources, would be for the Utah team to play out of the Delta Center, which Smith [the Jazz owner] owns and is also home to the Jazz. The Delta Center has hosted NHL exhibition games five times, with another date scheduled for this coming fall.

However, sources told ESPN that NHL leadership has made it clear to Smith they would need hockey-specific renovations for the Delta Center to be a permanent NHL home, similar to the Kraken owners’ renovations to Key Arena before the team arrived.

It’s not clear what would happen to the team’s identity if it moved to Utah, but Smith — the Jazz owner, who would end up owning the Coyotes if the relocation takes place — asked about possible new names on Twitter earlier this week:

What say ye, Uni Watch readers? Let’s hear your proposed names for a Utah NHL franchise!

Comments (127)

    You’re headed in the right direction!

    Utah’s the “Beehive State.”

    Rename the team the Utah Killer Bees, and modify the Wu-Tang “W” into a “U” for the logo.

    You’re welcome, dude who owns the Jazz. You. Are. Welcome.

    Even if I didn’t love Wu Tang, I would still pick Utah Killer Bees.
    That’s badass. And we need more insect names.

    The killer bees is a great name, though the killer part would probably not pass muster with marketing and focus groups. I don’t want to see another bee type team not be basically bee colors though (hello teal and purple). But the bruins and penguins exclusive nhl rights to black and yellow. I’d they did a tan and yellow scheme I’d go for it. And while I love the killer bees, I don’t think they’d go that way, and just “bees” is so tame. Maybe the swarm?

    I’m sad to say this but I think the world is so sensitive now they wouldn’t allow a team name with Killer in it.

    Killer Bees is awesome. And if we’re sensitive to Killers, why not eliminate things that actually kill people – so goodbye Lightning, Heat, Hurricanes and Avalanche; may as well get rid of Bruins, Bears, Jaguars, Lions, Tigers, Sharks, Coyotes, Timberwolves, Panthers… and if you want to be thorough, Kings and Senators have killed their subjects for centuries, and many natives of Texas have been killed by fellow Texans…
    In summation, Killer Bees is fine.

    If we want to name the team after a style of music (like the Jazz), but one that is more closely associated with the city, how about the Utah Choir after the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

    I mean, it’s not crazy. Winter sports are popular in the state. They’ve hosted the Olympics. I mean we’re comparing it a city in the desert.

    Salt Lake City has had a history of hockey in the state. From1969-1994 The Salt Lake City Golden Eagles played in the WHL,CHL, and the IHL. From 1995 to present the Utah Grizzlies has played in the AHL and the ECHL.

    Man, this was a really terrible comment. Yes, the Winter Olympic hosting, city next to tons of winter sports resorts, that has had a minor league team since the 60s, does have a richer hockey history than…Arizona.

    Arizona also deserves some respect, it’s just been bad ownership IMO. This is an area that has produced Austin Matthews, and a few other NHL players and has a Division 1 hockey program in Arizona State.

    They’ve had several owners and none have made it work. I think the hockey community in the Phoenix area is very well suited to Arizona State hockey. I think they’ll do very well. I don’t think it’s big enough for the NHL. Obviously the area is big enough but I mean I don’t think there are enough *passionate* hockey fans.

    IMO – Hockey can work in any decent size market in the US, with the right ownership, who can put a winning product on the ice. Nashville, Raleigh, Tampa Bay are all examples. Unfortunately the Coyotes have never been really any good, a lot of their ownership has been spotty etc.

    Sounds like one of those jilted Quebec City or bust people. Look up the history of hockey in SLC. There’s plenty.

    I’m quite familiar with the history of professional hockey in North America, from the earliest professional leagues to the present. SLC’s hockey history is scant compared other markets in the US and Canada. Moving to the Coyotes to Utah will probably bring crowds for a couple years, but will peter out eventually as it did in AZ years ago. Why it took so long for the league to move this dumpster fire of a franchise was pure stubbornness on the part of Bettman and co.

    This. I’m excited they finally went back to the kachina logo and unis, just keep it rolling and swap the city name.

    The seating configuration in the Delta Center looks better than what the Islanders had in Brooklyn, though it’s still not great. I just wonder if they will actually draw fans or if another move will show there’ just not the demand for 30 teams in the NHL like the owners want to believe there is….I mean, outside putting a team in Quebec City…where they built an NHL ready arena because the NHL told them they could get a team if they did.

    QC isn’t getting a team no matter how many people say they should get one. I think SLC would support a team, especially with a better ownership group in place.

    FWIW I was just in SLC last month and every local I talked to is absolutely ecstatic at the possibility of getting an NHL team.

    Salamanders would be very cool, but unfortunately, and understandably, it’s offensive to those in the LDS Church. So that rules those little guys out.

    I concur with others on the Stingers…


    Stick with the Coyotes, the logo is too terrific to be cast into the wastebin.
    If the fans of Utah were happy keeping such a locale specific name like the Jazz when they moved to town, no reason they can’t still be the Coyotes.

    I live in Utah and have been following it closely. From what i’ve seen and heard, a lot of folks are fine keeping the Coyotes but if not, the Utah Yeti seems to be one of the leading options.

    Interesting and full of potential, but Colorado uses a Bigfoot logo from time to time and Yeti coolers are still a big name brand. They might want to stand out a little more.

    My guess is that A. they’ll want a clean start with a new name, plus can sell more new merch and B. as part of the deal, since the current owner would get next opportunity for an expansion team, the name and branding would stay in AZ

    Salt Lake Stingers.

    It is the Beehive State. Let’s bring back an old-time pro hockey team name from a WHA team that didn’t make it into the NHL. Plus, Salt Lake Stingers sounds good.

    That’s the name of the Blue Jackets mascot. Not saying they can’t still use that name – but maybe they can’t.

    There also was the Cincinnati Stingers hockey team so might be an issue there.

    Bees might work but might still impede on the Blue Jackets a bit.

    Oops, I now notice Cincy Stingers were who you were referring to. My mistake there.

    If I’m not mistaken, the OKC thunder chose their identity while the GS warriors were in their “god of lightning” identity phase and their mascot and the guy on their logo was named thunder, which is why they did such a crappy job reinterpreting the old “the city” design. Because they had a very short amount time to move away from that branding so the new team could have it as their primary brand. So it probably won’t be too big a deal if they went that way.

    I can’t believe their state bird is the California Gull. Anyway, they seem to be pretty bee-centric out there, and they’d be owned by Jazz ownership, so if they don’t stay with Coyotes, I think the next logical name is the Utah Hive.

    I’m trying to think of a vague name that they could shorten to the B’s to serve a double purpose.

    I think go with Killer Bee’s or some slightly less aggressive variation (as we may not want to condone killing) and then they can use the Hive as their nickname for the arena or the fanbase.

    Bettman may have a prickly personality, but he has transformed the league from being a bit of a joke, to one who franchises are now fetching a billion dollars, I suspect all the owners are quite happy with him.

    Salt Lake City Stingers sounds pretty cool to me. It has a bit retro feel to it. There used to be a WHA hockey team in Cincinnati during the ’70’s that had the name, Stingers. And yes, Phil V, bring back the Quebec Nordiques and those great sweaters.

    I like just Salt Lake Stingers. Removing the “City”.

    Follows the tradition of old minor league hockey team there, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles.

    Vegas Golden Knights don’t have their full city name for their team. We can do the same with the team in Salt Lake City.

    Allegedly the agreement would leave the door open to the current Coyotes ownership to rejoin the league if and when they get a building, with the team name, trademarks, and records intact, in a sort of Cleveland Browns scenario.

    Given the financials, there is a non-zero chance that the Winnipeg Jets could move to Phoenix TWICE. That’s kind of insane!

    What I’ve read elsewhere as part of the deal to get Merualo to go along with the deal, is that he would “keep” the Coyotes name and “franchise” and if his land and development deal get done, he would get an expansion franchise. Similar to the deal that was made with Minnesota after the Wild left town for Dallas. No secret the NHL wants to add 2 more teams, and Bettman has made Phoenix the hill he is going to die on.

    Ryan Smith batted around Utah Yetis and I don’t hate it at all. Saw a few cool mockups too. I guess the drink tumbler company may have a problem, or they become the sponsor.

    I think they’re going to do really well out there and I really hope it happens. How many times and ways can Arizona tell the NHL, “we don’t really want you.” I am sure there are die hard Coyotes fans and being someone from Connecticut who stopped watching hockey for over a decade after the Whalers left, I do feel for those folks. But the market just isn’t right, at least not right now.

    Although I feel that the Utah Yotes has a nice ring to it, I have to agree with Wade’s Salt Lake Stingers suggestion.

    Coyotes are apparently native to Utah as well, so you could get away with keeping it a lot better than the Jazz did…still one of the worst monikers-by-location in history, along with the Lakers. After 40+ years, I guess it’s pointless to change it now, but still…not having that name in New Orleans is just criminal.

    But if you want to change it to something else native to the area….how about the Salt Lake City Snipes? :)

    With it being the beehive state and the owner also owning the Jazz I wouldn’t put it past them to name them the Buzz.

    Their AAA baseball team used to be the Buzz. If I remember right, Georgia Tech made them change it due to some copyright infringement with a trademark they had.

    Here are a few ideas, besides what have already been proposed above:
    the Bison (one of the largest herds of Bison in the US lives on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake)
    the Herd (mascot could be a Bison, or an Elk, the state animal)
    the Stags
    the Sasquatch (Utah has a history of alleged Bigfoot sightings)
    A lot of people have suggested: the Spikes or the Golden Spikes (in homage to the Golden Spike for the Transcontinental Railroad), but those might be reserved for a future MLB team, and VGK might take issue with “Golden”.
    Salt Lake City has a history with the name “Golden Eagles,” but again VGK might take issue with that name.
    Some other ideas with ties to the area:
    Copperwings (the world’s largest open pit copper mine is nearby)
    Trappers (was the name of SLC’s minor league baseball team for a while)
    Aviators (Hill Air Force base is nearby)

    Apparently, Ska music is popular in Utah.

    The Utah Ska.

    I kid.


    Utah Inversions. Both as a nod to their potential musical jazz cotenants and the weather that occurs during winter/nhl season causing pollution in salt lake city.

    One thing Utah has going for it is the state just authorized 900 million public dollars to help build new baseball (to try and lure an MLB team) and NBA/NHL stadiums in advance of the Olympics. As much as I disagree with using public money for it it is happening here.

    Avalanche was going to be Rocky Mtn Xtreme

    Rocky Mountain Elk

    official state animal

    Not just another state name like Az Coyotes, Minn Wild. More like Golden State Warriors

    The clear answer is the Salt Lake City Chuks, in honour of Steve Konowalchuk, the most individually successful NHLer to be born in the state of Utah.

    I mean, Trevor Lewis does have two Stanley Cups on his resume, so you could go with the Salt Lake City Lewises, but it’d probably be a conflict of interest in some way to name a team after an active player.

    The Johnnys of Utah, with a Keanu Reeves headshot for the logo.

    So many potential theme nights:

    -Ex-Presidents mask giveaways
    -Meatball Sub Night
    -Surfboard centric alternate sweaters

    I hate that teams move because of bad ownership. If the Coyotes, like the A’s, had good ownership, they’d have no issues getting a good arena.

    I hope it something totally different and unique- with a Utah connection. I’d suggest the Utah Bull Frogs, make the colors similar to the old North Stars, Green, Athletic Gold and Black , and have a fun logo of a Frog doing something hockey related- Like the Penguins and Sharks.

    If they changed, please be the bees or the stingers or some other plural reference to bees. We have already have too many singular team names.

    I thought of this, but all the things that make bees distinctive to us and would be uniform/logo elements—bright yellow, stringers—are characrteristics of worker (female) bees.

    Unlike in Colorado, where the Rockies baseball team chose Colorado Rockies after the NHL Colorado Rockies abandoned the name and ended up in New Jersey, there is already a team in Salt Lake City, the AAA Salt Lake City Bees. link

    Upon a quick look, there are Coyotes in Utah, so they could go with no name change at all. However, maybe not a good thing as there’s a bounty on wild coyotes in Utah because they’re predators of Mule Deer.

    How about Utah Blizzard. Having the Blizzard playing the Avalanche would be a winter wondeland.

    Keep the Coyotes name and unis. This ownership group can’t be trusted after what they did to the Jazz’s branding.

    Taking a page from old WHA teams, but still being related to Utah: Stingers or Stags (The Beehive State & Elk as state animal).
    Or many names adjacent to those two ideas might work.

    Looked up Utah on Wiki and they have a brand new state flag that’s pretty cool. Adopted a little over a month ago.


    In line with the flag and the prominent beehive in the middle, I’m thinking “Utah Swarm” would be a good choice.

    I said, “In line with the flag and the prominent beehive in the middle, I’m thinking “Utah Swarm” would be a good choice.” I was answering Paul’s question, “Let’s hear your proposed names for a Utah NHL franchise!” Read the article and my comment again.

    Moot points:

    “Colors…too simimlar to Bue Jackets”

    Utah flag doesn’t look anything like the Jackets’ uniforms. If your point is that both contain RWB, so do several other NHL clubs’ uniforms. Additionally, CBJ 3rd uniforms are double blue and don’t have either red or yellow and they have never used yellow on any team identity.

    “…flag idea too simimlar to Bue Jackets”

    I don’t think the Utah flag being the basis for a visual identity would be a bad idea, but I didn’t say anything about that in my comment. Even if they did go that route, Utah’s red, white, blue and yellow flag doesn’t look even remotely close to Ohio’s red, white & blue (with NO yellow) swallowtail flag.

    Regardless of that, CBJ wasn’t the first team (nor are they the only ones) to use state flag-inspired uniforms.

    Avs also use their state flag (which is accurately depicted and IS red, white, blue and yellow) on sleeves of their 3rd uniforms and part of their flag on all of them. They started wearing this in 2015, 12 seasons after CBJ started wearing their flag logo. So, maybe Colorado should change theirs?

    Or are the Avs grandfathered in because of the Rockies use of the Colorado flag in the 1970s-80s and CBJ shouldn’t use a flag-inspired logo?


    Teams relocating is a miserable part of the North American sports franchise system.

    Don’t make it worse on the fans in Arizona than it already is by keeping the Coyotes name/colors.

    In addition to being disrespectful to AZ fans, it’s disrespectful to Utah fans who won’t have an identity that’s truly their own. No team branding should ever be allowed to transfer to a different city (and in addition to not being able to use it, they shouldn’t get to keep any rights to it either to sell as throwback merch – I’m looking at YOU Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, and anyone else who pulls that crap).

    It’s gross how many times it’s been allowed to happen over the years, either due to laziness, cost-cutting and not having to buy new uniforms, the ego of owners, or whatever reason.

    MLB: Dodgers, A’s (3 times), Braves (2 times), Giants
    NHL: Flames, Stars (sort of), maybe Coyotes?
    NBA: Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Jazz, Hornets (later corrected), Grizzlies, Nets (moved back), Warriors, Bullets (later rebranded)
    NFL: Chargers (moved back), Rams (moved back), Raiders (3 times including two stints in Oakland), Colts, Cardinals (2 times)

    Did I miss anybody? All of those clubs should have gotten entirely new identities when they moved from one place to another.

    In the NBA the Rockets started in San Diego. The Hawks were originally the Tri-City Blackhawks (on the Illinois Iowa border), then shortened to Hawks for their time in Milwaukee and St Louis.

    Utah Coyotes, and make the logo a picture of Rickie Fowler (his middle name is Yutaka)

    Utah Jass, after the slighty-more-uptight-sounding early name for Jazz.

    I’d keep it in the tradition of teams relocating to Utah and NOT change the name…..Jazz is ridiculous for Utah but no one seemed to want to re-regionalize that at the time…..and I’m fairly certain some coyote has wandered across the border into Utah at some point so it fills both circumstances!
    Go Utah Coyotes!

    Totally agree with this comment.

    The Coyotes name has grown in the sports world,.. well at least in mine.
    Kachina logo is perfect and who wouldn’t love a coyote who somehow wandered into that state.

    I like the logo, but the colors of the uniform don’t work for me. Black, dark red, dark green, not a great combo.. If they kept the logo, I hope they improve the uniform itself.

    How about the Utah Arches? But ONLY if the NOBs were vertically arched.

    Salt Lake Scorin’ Mormons is probably too long.

    Salt Lake Racers due to the drag racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats, but probably too deep a cut

    Enough with the bee names. So they’re the beehive state, great. All those names are lame. Utah Yeti. Or just keep the Coyotes.

    Utah State Dinosaur: Utah Raptors

    Has a nice ring, no? Too bad Toronto already has it, otherwise that name would rule.

    Throwing in the Gulls, Goats, Skinwalkers, Hive, Yeti, Roadrunners, and Sasquatch. I’ve also heard Olympians thrown around, which wouldn’t be bad considering the biggest mountain in SLC is Mount Olympus on top of the Olympic connection.

    Here’s a logo that would look good on a uniform or a cap, would have appropriate historical context, be unique in the world of major-league sports, and be short enough for headline writers. I didn’t have time to clean it up and color it, but it’s got a stylized shape of Utah in the letter “G” plus a couple of hockey sticks. link

    Utah Saints. Was the name of a band back in the 90s. Or keep the Coyotes intact as I love their logo.

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