It has been known that both ASU’s hockey program and the Coyotes are seeking new arenas. For the Coyotes, one of the options on the table has been joining ASU at a new venue, something that has been discussed as an alternative to plans in Scottsdale and Phoenix, where an arena would be shared with the Phoenix Suns.
As it turns out, ASU is confident in its potential move. In a request to join the organization, ASU athletic director Ray Anderson told the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) that the program could be in a new venue by the 2018-2019 season. That letter was sent in June which, as it relates to the Coyotes, overlaps with a significant announcement. More from ABC 15:
Anderson’s letter makes no mention of the location of the arena or of a possible joint venue with the Coyotes. But in late June — two weeks after Anderson’s letter was dated — the Coyotes announced the location of a new arena has been decided. Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc said that location would be revealed later in the summer.
ASU’s current home ice, Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, has a seating capacity of less than 800. The Sun Devils reached an agreement with the Coyotes to play several of their home games at Gila River Arena last season, and enjoyed an average attendance of over 5,000 fans. ASU will play four games at Gila River Arena again this season.
Anderson detailed the benefits of ASU’s partnership with the Coyotes in his letter to Fenton.
“The partnership with Gila River Arena and the Coyotes also gave Sun Devil Hockey the opportunity to reach televisions nationwide, as the Pac-12 Network broadcasted two games this past season on its nationally televised channel,” he wrote.
Having a tie-in at an NHL venue could be a boost to ASU, and it seems that there has been some benefit to their relationship with the Coyotes. The Coyotes lease at Galia River Arena expires after the upcoming season, and they are believed to be looking for a new home within the next few years.