Following a recent setback in their arena search, the Arizona Coyotes are still indicating that they will move on from Glendale and Gila River Arena. Local officials, however, not only want to see the Coyotes remain in Glendale, but continue to play in their current home.
The Coyotes’ push for a new arena and mixed-use development in Tempe was recently scratched, as Arizona State University announced that it would not partner with the NHL franchise on a project. This came as the Coyotes pushed for state backing for a project at ASU’s Karsten Golf Course that would include a new arena along with commercial development.
As we noted in the aftermath of the deal’s collapse, there have been tensions between the Coyotes and Glendale, where the team’s arena management deal was terminated by the city in 2015. Since then, the Coyotes have sought to move on from Glendale, but officials there cite the $13 million in annual debt on Gila River Arena–which is not scheduled to be paid down until 2033–as a reason the team should stay.
Some of these points were expressed during a press conference on Monday from state representative Anthony Kern, who was joined by other legislatures in his call for the Coyotes to remain at Gila River Arena. All indications, however, are that the Coyotes will continue pushing for a new arena.
Team president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc is downplaying the possibility of a deal in Glendale, but officials contend that the team should focus on its relationship with the city. More from AZ Central:
The Coyotes’ current lease allows them to continue playing at Gila River Arena through the 2017-18 season. The team pays the city $500,000 for annual use of the arena.
Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps, who began his role last February, said he’s been “crystal clear” in communicating to the team that they’re wanted in Glendale. He said that his staff would “relish the opportunity” to negotiate a long-term plan with the Coyotes.
“We’ve never said we don’t want them here,” he said.
Gila River Arena has been the team’s home since it opened in 2003.
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