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Coyotes remain committed to Arizona despite Tempe setback

Coyotes will play at Mullett Arena this season with a view to staying in Arizona long term.

TEMPE, Ariz. — The people of Tempe rejected a bid to build a new arena for the Coyotes, but that doesn't mean Arizona won't remain home to the NHL franchise.

Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez announced the team will play at Mullett Arena during the 2023-24 season. That's the 5,000-seat Arizona State rink they called home this past year.

In addition, the Coyotes "remain committed to Arizona and have already started re-engaging with local officials and sites to solidify a new permanent home in the Valley."

The kneejerk reaction was an imminent relocation plan for the franchise, and the NHL  said they were going to review with the Coyotes what the options might be going forward.

But, as Robyn Leano and Matthew Jacobson of Locked on Coyotes discuss, there's a handful of options in the area, one of which is already being discussed.

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According to Dennis Welch of CBS News, Mesa, AZ officials confirmed the Coyotes reached out Wednesday following the vote in Tempe. The team is eyeing the Fiesta Mall site, which is "prime land in the East Valley‘s largest city." 

Any potential arena deal there could require another public vote, however.

There's still plenty of speculation in regards to relocation, with Salt Lake City emerging as a destination to go along with Houston, Kansas City, or Quebec City.

According to The Hockey News, "Vivint Arena is the home of the NBA's Utah Jazz and both the building and the basketball team are owned by local billionaire businessman Ryan Smith. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, Smith hinted that plans to bring a hockey team to Utah were 'in motion' and he has reportedly met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the past."

So even though the Coyotes seem set to play at least one more season at Mullett Arena and remain committed to Arizona, it doesn't necessarily mean they won't be on the move.

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