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Report: NHL to buy Coyotes, sell to Utah ownership for $1.2B

Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Salt Lake City still appears to be on the verge of landing the Arizona Coyotes, but not before the NHL takes control of them.

"The league is going to buy the Coyotes for a billion dollars, and the current owner Alex Meruelo is going to have a five-year window to prove he can put together a new arena, go to the land auction, win it, get shovels in the ground ... everything that he has to do to prove he can build a new arena," Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported on "Saturday Headlines."

The next step in the process is where Salt Lake City comes in.

"And then kind of like expansion, the league is going to sell a new team to Utah and owner Ryan Smith for $1.2 billion," Friedman said. "The (Coyotes') hockey operations (staff) are expected to go with that."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy Bill Daly reportedly met with the Coyotes' ownership group about a month ago and told it that it could "pursue the new arena for Coyotes 2.0, but (the league's) in a position here where we can't allow this particular iteration of the team to continue any longer," according to Friedman.

On Friday, he reported the Coyotes' players were informed they're moving to Utah before their game that night against the Edmonton Oilers, which they won in overtime.

Earlier Saturday, Meruelo said in a statement through the team that he hoped "to address these issues" as soon as he's able to do so.

It was reported Wednesday that the Coyotes could move to Utah as soon as next season.

Arizona has been forced to play at Mullett Arena, a 5,000-seat NCAA facility, since 2022-23 after their lease expired at Gila River Arena following the previous campaign.

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