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Coyotes likely to remain in Arizona for 2024-25 season

Mike Stobe / Getty Images

Don't start filling up the moving boxes just yet.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday that the league "probably" wouldn't have enough time to relocate the Arizona Coyotes for the 2024-25 campaign if owner Alex Meruelo doesn't win June's land auction, per's Nicholas J. Cotsonika.

"At this point, there's no call to make yet on Arizona," he said. "We're satisfied with ... where we are. ... If they win the auction, that's the first step in the process. They've got their land. They have the ability to build on it. I think the actual auction itself will provide that certainty, I think."

He added: "I'm focused on, currently, (that) they're going to play hockey games in Arizona next year."

The Coyotes signed a three-year agreement with Arizona State University in February 2022 to play their home games at Mullett Arena.

They've since been looking for an alternative to the 5,000-seat NCAA facility that's served as the NHL club's home for the past two seasons. The organization's hopes of building an arena in Tempe were dashed last May after residents voted against building a $2.1-billion entertainment district in the area.

Now, the Coyotes are eyeing a tract of land in North Phoenix. The Arizona State Land Department Board of Appeals approved the $68.5-million appraisal of the 95-acre plot last Thursday, clearing the way for the organization to bid on it.

The Coyotes' future in Arizona has long been in flux, especially since their lease agreement with Gila River Arena expired at the end of 2021-22. Despite the years of uncertainty, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman once again threw his support behind the Grand Canyon State.

"Well, we would have preferred to be in a new arena by now, but there are certain things that couldn't be controlled. ... So, we deal with what we can deal with. Having said that, we believe Arizona, particularly the greater Phoenix area, is a good NHL market.

"It's a place we want to be."

Neither Bettman nor Daly gave a deadline on when a possible relocation decision would come down, but Daly conceded that "it's getting late," per TSN's Chris Johnston.

NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh said in February that he was "extremely disappointed" in the Coyotes' failed pursuits to find a new home, as well as the organization's failure to communicate with the union.

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