In a recent letter to fans, Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen sought to dispel rumors of a potential move by emphasizing the franchise’s commitment to Arizona.
The Coyotes have played at Glendale’s Gila River Arena since 2003, but have expressed their desire in the recent past to secure a new arena in downtown Phoenix or the East Valley, contending that it is better for the organization’s financial outlook. No firm arena proposal is on the table at this point, however, and recent reports have indicated that Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway is looking for a new investor.
Though speculation of a potential move has surrounded the Coyotes for years, there has been more recent chatter given the reports of a potential ownership transaction and the possibility of Houston as a future NHL market. However, a letter from Cohen published to the team’s website on Tuesday stressed the Coyotes’ commitment to Arizona. Within the letter, Cohen stated that “any investment in our team must be laser-focused on helping the Coyotes achieve a long-term sustainable arena solution here in Arizona.” More from the Arizona Republic:
“(One) quality that matters to our organization is honesty,” Cohen wrote. “For that reason, I have and will continue to be forthcoming about matters related to our franchise. While it’s neither necessary nor prudent to address every unsubstantiated Internet report or tweet, it is important to communicate where things stand to our fans.”
Cohen went so far as to reiterate that any potential deal involving a change in ownership would be predicated on the Coyotes remaining in Arizona for the foreseeable future.
“Recently, you may have read reports about a potential ownership transaction,” Cohen wrote. “As I have said for months, we will continue to explore investment opportunities to better assist our team in achieving our long-term goals and organizational vision. This process has at its core one key pre-condition: any investment in our team must be laser-focused on helping the Coyotes achieve a long-term sustainable arena solution here in Arizona.
“Arizona is our home. We love it here. And we love playing for you, the very best fans in the NHL.”
As noted, there is not a firm arena proposal on the table at this stage and a few attempts to secure a new arena in recent years came up short. The team unveiled a proposal in late 2016 that called for a new arena in Tempe that would be constructed as part of a partnership with Arizona State University and its hockey program, but ASU pulled the plug on that plan in early 2017 and is now moving forward with the construction of a multi-sport arena that will accommodate hockey. Additionally, state legislation to finance a new arena failed to gain support among Arizona lawmakers in 2017. The Coyotes will have some work to do before putting together another plan, but for now they continue to emphasize their desire to remain in Arizona.
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