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Coyotes’ Stay at Gila River Arena to Run Another Season

Phoenix Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes‘ stay at Gila River Arena will extend another year, as the team is returning to the Glendale-based venue for the 2019-20 season. 

Since 2016, the Coyotes have played at Gila River Arena on a year-to-year lease with venue manager AEG Facilities. It automatically renews on December 31 of every year, barring a prior cancellation from the Coyotes, and the organization informed AEG in December that it will return for the 2019-20 NHL season.

There has been speculation for years surrounding the long-term status of the Coyotes, who have expressed their desire in the recent past for a new arena in downtown Phoenix or East Valley, contending that it would be better for the organization’s financial outlook. No firm arena plan has come together to this point, however. With the team set to return for another year, Glendale officials are suggesting a willingness to persuade the Coyotes to make the arena their long-term home, but any plan to spruce up the facility with some city funds will likely require a longer commitment from the team. More from the Arizona Republic:

The lease renewal buys Glendale another year, [Glendale City Manager Kevin] Phelps said, to think about what the city can do to keep the team in the arena for years to come.

“Our goal will be to find a compelling reason for the Coyotes to stay in Glendale,” he said.

What might that look like? Phelps said he’s not sure. But he said he does know that the arena could benefit from upgrades, which would help the team bring in more revenue.

If the city gets a longer-term commitment from the Coyotes, Phelps said, the city may be willing to help pay.

The Coyotes have been speculated as a relocation candidate for years, with the most recent rumors linking them to Houston–a strong market with NHL ambitions. Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen dispelled those rumors in a letter to fans this week that stressed the organization’s commitment to Arizona, but whether that commitment translates to a long-term facility plan coming together in the near future remains to be seen.

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