The Arizona Coyotes got some bad news late Tuesday night when the vote for a new arena in Tempe was shot down by the city population. The Coyotes had been in Phoenix, specifically the Glendale area before they wouldn’t approve a new arena. The Coyotes relocated to Tempe for this season in an attempt to get a new arena situated. The city declined the proposed arena, which would have cost over $2 billion, with most of that money being privately funded. Anyway, it looks like the NHL is going to have to try and move the team elsewhere. Let’s go over some cities that make the most sense.
Coyotes relocation rankings
There had been talk around the League of getting another team in Toronto. Hockey is Canada’s sport and there’s enough population up there to saturate a fanbase. It would also create a natural rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs, similar to what we see in states like New York, California, Chicago, Texas and Florida. It also could light a fire under the Leafs to try and get a Stanley Cup again. Seeing a brand new Toronto team winning while the Leafs struggle would be great drama for the NHL.
Salt Lake City, Utah
The owner of the Utah Jazz in the NBA, Ryan Smith, has had rumored interest in bringing a hockey team to Utah. There’s already Vivint Arena where the Jazz play, so you wouldn’t need to sink a ton of money in building a new arena. There’s a built-in fanbase in SLC given Jazz fans and Real Salt Lake in the MLS. It’s similar to the NHL springing up in Seattle with the Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders. You also wouldn’t have to realign the divisions at all given SLC makes sense in the Central, playing teams like Winnipeg, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago.
It’s always tough looking to the Midwest in the United States to throw a hockey team. It’s just not a place where people have a ton of hockey interest. But there are a few cities that could make sense. Kansas City comes to mind since you have a big sports fanbase with the Chiefs and Royals. You do have a few arenas that could house the team, including T-Mobile Center, which can house over 17,000 fans for hockey games. That could be a temporary home until a new arena is built. Oklahoma City already has the Thunder and an arena for a hockey team. People were skeptical about the Sonics moving from Seattle to OKC but it’s worked out pretty well so far. K.C. also makes sense in the Central with natural rivalries to St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago, Dallas and Minnesota.
Quebec City, Quebec
This is the one seemingly that all hockey fans want: the return of the Nordiques. Not just because the jerseys were absolute flames. Another team in Canada makes sense and we mentioned another one in Toronto may be good. You’ve got a city that likely wants its team back in Quebec. There are plenty of hockey fans up there and there’s Videotron Centre, which is among the biggest arenas not in the NHL. It can hold over 18,000 fans. One caveat could be realignment, but it also means the NHL can move the Red Wings back to the Central Division where they belong. Quebec City moves to the Atlantic with natural rivals in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Boston and Buffalo.