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NHL approves Coyotes sale, relocation to Salt Lake City

The NHL is moving the team now formerly known as the Arizona Coyotes to Utah to begin play as a new franchise next season, the league announced Thursday.

Ryan and Ashley Smith of Smith Entertainment Group bought the team and its existing hockey assets for $1.2 billion from Alex Meruelo, sources told ESPN. Meruelo had owned the Coyotes since buying the franchise for $300 million 2019, but the league lost patience in his ability to find a long-term arena solution in Arizona and facilitated a sale.

The Smiths, who also own the NBA's Utah Jazz, initially built a relationship with commissioner Gary Bettman because they wanted an expansion franchise.