LOCAL NEWS

Coyotes express thanks for Arizona, look forward to support of Utah

Apr 18, 2024, 2:31 AM | Updated: 7:10 am

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SALT LAKE CITY – For the Arizona Coyotes, the 2023-24 season came to an end and with it an era of hockey in the Grand Canyon State.

Coyotes end era in Arizona

On Wednesday, April 17, the Yotes fought through the noise surrounding the franchise and soundly defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 5-2.

After calling Winnipeg home, the Coyotes have been Arizona’s NHL team since 1996.

Wednesday’s win was the penultimate game for the franchise that will reportedly relocate to Utah on April 18. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the team will call the Beehive State its home after a vote by the league’s Board of Governors less than 24 hours after the Coyotes’ win over the Oilers.

During Arizona’s final victory as the Coyotes, fans expressed a range of emotions from gratitude to sadness to anger.

However, after the game, multiple Coyotes shared thanks for their time in Arizona and looked forward to the move to Utah with optimism.

Players on Utah and impacting community

Josh Doan, a right wing for the Yotes, watched his father play almost his entire NHL career in Arizona. Like his dad, Doan fell in love with the game and eventually landed on the Coyotes a few years ago.

Despite deep ties to hockey in Arizona, Doan spoke to the media after the game and said “there’s not hate toward Salt Lake City” ahead of the team’s move.

“They’re welcoming us with open arms and we don’t want there to be hate across the board from fans here towards them cause the people there had nothing really to do with it. Doan said. “They’ve been welcoming and supportive of us too.”

Just as Doan gravitated to the game as a child, fellow right wing Clayton Keller had a meaningful experience with hockey as a kid.

Following the season finale, Keller also spoke with the media and shared some retrospective comments.

Keller was impacted after receiving a puck from an NHL player as a kid. The moment even caused him to wear No. 5 on his jersey.

The Coyotes player said that “anytime you can have an impact on the community” it’s something he tries to do.

While there is uncertainty in the days, weeks, and months ahead, both players shared gratitude for their time in Arizona and the community of Coyotes fans that supported the team.

They also expressed that similar positive relationships can be built with a new hockey community, one like Salt Lake City.

After the Coyotes are officially purchased by Ryan Smith, that journey begins, not only for the fans in Utah but the state’s new NHL players as well.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. Listen to Ireland on Yards After College: An NFL Podcast. Follow him on X (@kyleireland), Threads (@kyleirelandksl), and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Coyotes express thanks for Arizona, look forward to support of Utah