Under consideration: Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as the temporary home of the Arizona Coyotes (NHL) until a new Tempe arena can be built.
The breakup between the Coyotes, the city of Glendale and ASM is pretty much complete: It doesn’t appear there’s any circumstance where the Coyotes play at Gila River Arena until a new facility is online. So with Glendale off the list, there are not many potential homes for the team in the Valley: Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Suns (NBA), doesn’t appear to be a potential home following the most recent round of renovations. That leaves Veterans Memorial Coliseum as well as a host of much smaller venues in the running. (We’re wondering why the Coliseum isn’t generating more interest on the Coyotes side: while it’s a little smaller–14,000 or so by the time you install a new rink and ice making system–it’s still the right size for a temporary venue, but there would be the need to plan for how already scheduled displaced events would be addressed.) And apparently under consideration: Chase Field, according to the Arizona Republic.
Playing hockey in a ballpark isn’t the newest of ideas; heck, the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) played at Tropicana Field before Amalie Arena opened.
But Chase Field presents its own issues, mostly on the scheduling front. Based on events already scheduled for the 2022-2023 NHL season–some of which overlap with the end of the NHL season and the beginning of the 2023 MLB season–it would be challenging to have both the D-Backs and Coyotes playing out of Chase Field, with April being a particular challenge. And with Chase Field basically not available until the 2023-2024 NHL season, there’s the larger and more immediate issue of where the Coyotes play in 2022-2023.
And also a larger issue: the future of the proposed Tempe arena. Tempe and the Coyotes still are working on a development plan, but there’s some opposition in Phoenix, specifically from Sky Harbor Airport officials, who say a large development is too close to the airport.
So while Chase Field is an intriguing choice, it too presents its own issues. Decisions will need to made quickly: planning for the 2022-2023 NHL season is well underway.
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