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Coyotes Say Goodbye to Arizona Fans Ahead of Move to Utah

The Coyotes Are Moving on From Arizona to Salt Lake City Ahead of the Next Season

Goodbyes Are Always Hard

There will be no more NHL games today, tomorrow, or for the foreseeable future in Arizona as the NHL rumors are true and the team will move to Salt Lake City to begin a new chapter.

 

Coyotes Say Goodbye to Arizona Fans Ahead of Move to Utah
The Arizona Coyotes mascot, "Howler" holds up a sign reading "thank you fans"| Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

The Coyotes Are Leaving the Desert

The Arizona Coyotes struggled through another disappointing season but the final game of their 2023-2024 campaign was also the last one at Mullett Arena in Tempe. According to the latest NHL news, the franchise has been sold and will begin play in Salt Lake City, Utah next season. The franchise leaves the desert without a Stanley Cup nor will they be competing in the NHL playoffs this season.

However, the team’s last performance in front of a packed house of 4,600 fans, was cause for celebration as the Coyotes ended on a winning note in a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night. Yet, the victory was overshadowed by tears, handshakes, and thoughtful goodbyes.

One of those in attendance was an unexpected guest, Shane Doan, the franchise’s heart and soul for nearly two decades who retired in 2017 and remains the team’s franchise record-setter for games played (1,540), goals (402), assists (570), and points (972). Doan is now an executive with the Toronto Maple Leafs but instead of preparing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 47-year-old father of Josh Doan, who is currently a member of the Coyotes, decided to say goodbye.

I don’t think the plan was for him to come back tonight, but he did,” Josh said after the game about his dad. “He was supposed to stay in Toronto and be involved in the playoffs. For him to come back and be involved shows how much it meant to him.

 

A Special Gift

In 2019, Shane Doan had his number retired to the rafters of the Coyotes’ former venue, what is now known as the Footprint Center in Phoenix. The banner was put in storage when the team left for the Mullett Arena, only to be found by a former worker who rescued it from oblivion and presented it to Doan before the game on Wednesday night.

A fan handed it to me,” Doan said with a laugh. “I’m glad to have it back. It’s part of history. I love the Coyotes, and my family has been accepted here. We’ve been treated better than anyone deserves.

In a bit of poetic irony, Shane Doan was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1996 but was immediately on the move as the franchise relocated to Phoenix. Doan’s son, Josh, who is just starting his own NHL career, will have played only one year in Arizona before his career continues in Salt Lake City.

Doan said, “I told (Josh) when we were talking about it, ‘You know what? This is exactly what happened with me leaving Winnipeg. It was sad and it was hard leaving Winnipeg. We came here and started a whole new life. I never dreamed I’d be in Arizona and I ended up in Arizona kind of writing a story and being part of a story here that was incredible and great and I loved it.

Go do that. Go to Salt Lake City, if that’s where it’s at and that’s what happens. Go there and enjoy it.

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