Sports

Arizona Coyotes fans chant 3 words to express their feelings about the team’s move to Salt Lake City

Arizona Coyotes fans made clear their feelings about the team’s move to Utah.

Wednesday night marked the Coyotes’ final game in Arizona before they head roughly 600 miles north to Salt Lake City.

It’s been a tumultuous existence ever since the Coyotes landed in Arizona in the late 1990s after the original Winnipeg Jets franchise moved there in 1996.

Coyotes fans in final game

Fans hold up signs before an NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena April 17, 2024, in Tempe, Ariz. (Getty Images)

The Coyotes’ faithful aren’t thrilled about the move.

Coyotes fans chanted “Salt Lake sucks” at Arizona State University’s Mullet Arena, the home of the Coyotes the last two seasons after their lease with Gila River Arena ended in 2021.

Earlier this week, it was reported Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo planned to sell the franchise’s hockey operations to Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith in a $1.2 billion deal. The NHL announced the agreement on Thursday, making Wednesday’s game the Coyotes’ final game in Arizona. Arizona won, 5-2.

“This is the last one in Arizona for a little bit, and we wanted to have a good effort, show that to the fans,” Coyotes forward Clayton Keller said after the game. 

“There were a lot of emotions, and there was a lot of sadness,” Coyotes coach André Tourigny added. “We’ve gone through a bit of adversity, and I’m really proud the way the players responded.”

Arizona Coyotes salute

The Arizona Coyotes salute fans after defeating the Edmonton Oilers, 5-2, at Mullett Arena April 17, 2024, in Tempe, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Relocation rumors buzzed for years, but a move to Mullett Arena, a 5,000-seat venue, in 2022 seemed like the final nail in the coffin. 

Coyotes mascot

The Arizona Coyotes’ mascot, “Howler,” holds up a sign saying “Thank you fans” after a game against the Edmonton Oilers at Mullett Arena April 17, 2024, in Tempe, Ariz. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

But hockey in Arizona might still have a future. The NHL’s announcement on Thursday gives Meruelo the rights to the Coyotes if he can build “a new, state-of-the-art facility appropriate for an NHL team” within a five-year period. In the meantime, Smith gets an expansion team in Salt Lake City and will take control of the Coyotes’ assets. 

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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