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NHL Goes to Utah; Arizona Coyotes Now ‘Inactive Franchise’

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Utah nhl

The NHL is officially in Utah after the Board of Governors approved the sale and relocation of the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

The Coyotes played their final game in Arizona on Wednesday night.

Or did they?

The NHL considers the Coyotes as an inactive franchise, “with a right to reactivate if owner Alex Meruelo has fully constructed a new, state-of-the-art facility appropriate for an NHL team within five years.”

The new NHL team, which will be based in Salt Lake City, will have Utah in its name.

Of course, it’s not really a new NHL team in Utah.

Utah’s new owners — Ashley and Ryan Smith — get everything the Coyotes’ have save for the name and the AHL team currently based in Tucson. Arizona’s players are reportedly going to visit their new home next week.

“As everyone knows, Utah is a vibrant and thriving state, and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

“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.”

Ryan Smith, who also owns the NBA’s Jazz and the city’s MLS team, tweeted out Thursday night that the NHL team in Utah had secured over 11,000 season-ticket deposits.

The Utah Grizzlies (why not?) will play for the time being at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW

The Winnipeg Jets beat out the Florida Panthers for the NHL’s William M. Jennings Award which goes to the team which allows the fewest goals in the season.

It came down to one goal. A shootout goal.

Seriously.

— Since shootout goals really should not count, we here at FHN consider it a tie with the Jets.

Both teams gave up 198 goals.

Could someone print this out and get it to Robb Tallas?

William jennings trophy

Unofficial graphic in no way affiliated with the NHL or Florida Panthers although Robb Tallas may appreciate it. // FloridaHockeyNow Official Graphics Department

— Jonah Gadjovich started the season with the Panthers on an AHL contract.

The team then signed him to a one-year, one-way deal — before extending him for two more years. Now, Gadjovich is gearing up for his first experience in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Not too shabby.

— The Panthers are a different team than they were the last time they played the Lightning in the postseason. Perhaps that’s why the Panthers were so charged up to play them.

Carter Verhaeghe returned Tuesday after missing the past couple of weeks. He showed no signs of rust.

— Don’t forget to subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel for plenty of videos from the Panthers including special playoff shows as well as practice, pre- and postgame comments from players and coaches. Lots of special stuff coming up this week!

For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers Anywhere:

NHL NEWS/NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

Could the Tampa Bay Lightning be the first NHL wild card to win the Stanley Cup?

— Shutting down Auston Matthews in the first round of the playoffs is now a Boston Bruins problem.

— Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is mulling over a contract extension.

Patrick Kane looks one-and-done with the Detroit Red Wings.

— The Buffalo Sabres are looking for experience in a new coach.

Brady Tkachuk, who should be visiting Fort Lauderdale anytime now, says this season with the Sens was very difficult.

— Speaking of Ottawa stars with South Florida ties, Jakob Chychrun says there have not been talks about a contract extension.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (WC1) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1)
GAME 1

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