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Utah’s NHL hockey team will have games on channel 16 via over-the-air TV

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Apr 23, 2024

Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press

Arizona Coyotes right wing Dylan Guenther, right, celebrates his goal against the Edmonton Oilers with Clayton Keller (9) and Sean Durzi (50) in a game April 17, 2024, in Tempe, Ariz.

Utah’s new top-tier professional hockey team doesn’t have a name yet but fans can rest knowing the team’s TV situation is already settled.

The NHL team formerly known as the Arizona Coyotes will retain its existing TV contract, league commissioner Gary Bettman said in last week’s welcome-to-Utah press conference. That TV deal is with Scripps Sports, which already aired Coyotes games on KUPX channel 16 in Utah when not precluded by other programming.

The Coyotes entered a four-year contract with Scripps prior to the 2023-24 season, reports The Arizona Republic, becoming the second NHL team to broadcast games over the air as opposed to regional cable networks that became the norm in professional sports media over the last 20 years.

The NHL team playing on Utah 16 is an over-the-air TV arrangement that matches Ryan and Ashley Smith’s other major pro sports holding through Smith Entertainment Group, the NBA’s Utah Jazz, which began airing games on KJZZ 14 this season.

The same Scripps station in Arizona will continue airing games for the former Coyotes. As ownership changed hands, Utah’s team is more like a relocated franchise rather than an expansion; Utah takes over existing Coyotes players and their contracts. Hockey fans in Arizona had some excitement over several young players on the roster this season.

As for choosing a name, Ryan Smith says fans will be involved.

Smith will use his former survey company Qualtrics, and design firm Doubleday & Cartwright, to whittle “like eight” names down to the final choice, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.

Details for how fans can participate in that process will be announced at a fan event Wednesday at the Delta Center. Starting at 4 p.m., the team has advertised free food and live music for fans to welcome the players to Utah, as well as its coach André Tourigny and general manager Bill Armstrong, who the Tribune reports will retain in their positions.

Utah’s team will not be named the Coyotes; in his sale of the team to the Smiths, Alex Meruelo retained rights to the Coyotes brand. As part of that transaction, the NHL promised Meruelo an expansion team if he is able to build a hoped-for new stadium.


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