Plenty of work would have to be done to make it a reality, but the Arizona Coyotes are showing interest in hosting a future outdoor game.
The NHL has made outdoor games into a staple of its regular-season slate, thanks to annual events like the Winter Classic and Stadium Series. An NHL outdoor game has yet to be hosted in Arizona, though the Coyotes could push to change that in the future.
At a public event late last week, Coyotes CEO Ahron Cohen suggested that Sun Devil Stadium–the home of Arizona State University football in Tempe–would be a fitting environment for an outdoor game. The possibility does not appear to be imminent, however, as the NHL has not officially explored Arizona for an outdoor game and typically decides where to host those events as part of a long consideration process. More from Cronkite News:
During the Coyotes’ town hall meeting Friday night, team president and CEO Ahron Cohen said he liked the idea of the Winter Classic, or another outdoor game, coming to the Valley.
“I don’t think there is a better location than Sun Devil Stadium for an outdoor game,” Cohen said….
“In terms of the process, we explore over the course of the year numerous venues and opportunities and check out the viability to do an outdoor game (there),” [NHL’s executive vice president of events and content Steve] Mayer said. “We look at proper venues, time of the year, weather. Arizona is extremely warm and that is something we would have to take into account.”
The league hasn’t officially looked into Arizona, Mayer said, although Cohen admitted he has been “lobbying in the commissioner’s ear all the time.” In the past, the Coyotes have suggested hosting an outdoor game around the Super Bowl.
The open-air Sun Devil Stadium originally opened in 1958, and has been extensively modernized in recent years with major renovations. Sister site Football Stadium Digest has covered those construction projects.