If you’ve attended a game at any decent college rink in the last decade, what the Arizona Coyotes are planning at the new ASU arena won’t be surprising. If your recent experiences are attending NHL games, you may be a little startled when visiting Arizona State University.
It’s no secret the decision by the Coyotes to play the next three seasons at Arizona State University’s new arena isn’t ideal: the team and the NHL had hoped to be in new digs by now. But with no other options for team management committed to staying in Phoenix, ASU provides a temporary solution.
Now, at the beginning of August, the ASU era for the Coyotes is off to a good start. With Oak View Group now managing the facility, the university and the Coyotes are seeing some breaks go their way. Construction on a separate building, the Annex, for NHL-quality locker rooms and training spaces is ahead of schedule, as is general work on the new arena. This means the Arizona Sun Devils hockey team won’t need to wait until December to make a home debut: instead, the team’s debut will come on Oct. 14. The Coyotes home opener is set for Oct. 28, though the team will spend five weeks on the road while the Annex is completed.
When we say the new ASU arena will be reminiscent of a decent college arena, we mean in terms of capacity and amenities. We’ve seen several notable college-hockey facilities open in the last decade, comparable in terms of amenities (like Colorado College’s Ed Robson Arena) or size (Penn State’s 6,014-seat Pegula Ice Arena sports 14 luxury suites and 525 club seats). At ASU, the new arena features 22 suites and 658 club seats—comparable to much larger facilities like 3M Arena at Mariucci at the University of Minnesota, offering an experience closer to an NHL game.
Other upgrades needed to support NHL play include dedicated spaces for replay oversight and technology for game-day production.
This isn’t to say fans won’t face some compromises in terms of offerings on the food/beverage and concessions sides. Tickets are not cheap, beginning at $110 on the low end to $510 on the high end, per the team website. On the plus side, there probably won’t be a bad seat in the house. Still, we’re sure the team will be happier to move into a new home in three years—whether in Tempe or elsewhere. Meanwhile, ASU will benefit from a top-notch home for years to come.