Alex Meruelo Officially Liquidates Coyotes’ Remaining Assets

7/10: Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports reports that Meruelo has signed all necessary paperwork to transfer his assets to the Arizona Coyotes. As of today, the National Hockey League owns all branding and intellectual property of the Coyotes franchise and can sell it to a potential buyer.

6/25: Alex MerueloThe owner of the dormant Coyotes franchise informed staff yesterday that he was leaving the club, reports Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports. The news comes less than a week after the Arizona State Land Department canceled an auction for a parcel of land Meruelo wanted to use for a new arena for the franchise, which was officially deactivated this month after the hockey operations were sold to Salt Lake City-based Smith Entertainment Group.

Meruelo told Coyotes staff yesterday that the franchise “no plans to explore further arena options“after the canceled auction, according to Morgan. The city of Phoenix said Meruelo’s group failed to obtain the necessary permits to acquire the land in time for the auction.

The news brings a quick end to the NHL commissioner’s original plan Gary Bettman in April when he announced the transfer of the Coyotes’ hockey operations to SEG, which would then form a new franchise, the Utah Hockey Club. Meruelo reportedly received $1 billion for Arizona’s players, roster, draft picks and front office staff, which he would then repay to the league as an expansion fee if he could build a new arena within five years. That plan was contingent on Meruelo building at least half of the arena by the end of 2027, a feat now impossible without the already last-ditch effort for the land in question in North Phoenix.

Meruelo retained the Coyotes’ trademark rights and ownership of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners as part of the sale. It’s unclear whether he can transfer the Yotes’ name and logo to a new owner who could then try to build another expansion franchise in the Phoenix area. As for the Roadrunners, who will remain the minor-league affiliate of the Utah Hockey Club next season, they will play all of their home games in Tucson next season. A plan announced last month would have seen the Roadrunners play six regular-season games at the 4,600-capacity Mullett Arena on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, where the Coyotes played the past two seasons. Following the auction’s cancellation, that is no longer the case.

Interestingly, Morgan reports that “at least two groups interested in bringing an expansion team back to Arizona.” However, without a dedicated arena, the timeline for expansion back to the state will likely extend beyond the five-year exclusivity period Meruelo was initially offered.

Meruelo plans to dissolve the Coyotes’ remaining assets, Sportico’s Barry M. Bloom reports. That process involves returning the Coyotes’ name and logo to the NHL, which would theoretically allow them to sell the trademark rights to the next ownership group that files for expansion into the Phoenix area. He will retain ownership of AHL Tucson, but plans to relocate them to Reno, Nevada, after a new 10,600-capacity venue is completed, likely prior to the 2026-27 season.

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