If you haven’t heard the news already, the Arizona Coyotes are heading to Tempe, Arizona for the next three seasons, where they will share Arizona State University’s new multi-purpose arena, in addition to making Ice Den Scottsdale the club’s full-time practice facility. The jokes came with the announcement that the new facility will only hold 5,000 spectators, the smallest arena in NHL history.
While it may be a downgrade as the Coyotes leave Gila River Arena in Glendale, it’s a necessary move and one that could pay off in the long run. As they await word on their arena proposal, which was submitted in January to the Tempe City Council, the team looks to make the most of their temporary home, while finding other potential solutions for a permanent home in the Valley.
Benefits of Move to ASU
Regardless of what people want to tell you, there are a lot of benefits that come with the Coyotes’ move to the East Valley. Since moving to Glendale back in 2003, the team has struggled to draw in fans. Ranked third to last in the league in attendance, Arizona will hope the move to the East Valley, where a majority of their fan base derives from, will bring in more fans.
Coyotes team president Xavier Gutierrez also doesn’t believe there is a problem with potential revenue, and that the team could actually benefit from this and potentially equal or double their profit from previous seasons in Glendale.
The move to Arizona State’s newest arena also brings benefits to the campus and their hockey team. In compliance with the move to the Sun Devils’ newest arena, the Coyotes had to agree to pay over $25 million in upgrades for the arena to be up to NHL standards. These upgrades include NHL-quality home and away dressing rooms, nutrition stations, coaches rooms, team storage, a fitness room, in addition to a reserved chilling capacity for the ice plant, enhanced broadcasting infrastructure, media and medical services, and analytics and replay capabilities.
This will be beneficial to ASU, who will get top-of-the-line facilities for free even after the NHL team leaves for a new arena. The move to Tempe also allows students from the nearby campus to come out and watch an NHL hockey game in what will be a cool but different type of atmosphere. This, in turn, will help grow the fan base and help bring in a whole new generation of fans.
Coyotes Remain Committed to the Valley
While the team still has dominoes standing in their way in finding a permanent home in the desert, this move shows owner Alex Meruelo‘s commitment to the Valley. Coyotes president Xavier Gutierrez, who was asked about the Coyotes’ move to ASU’s newest arena despite concerns and criticism, summed it up perfectly, saying “hockey belongs here in the desert.”
Despite the countless early rumors that the team was for sale, the Coyotes have no intention of leaving Arizona any time soon. While the next three seasons might look weird, the team is excited and looking forward to making the most of it while they wait for their permanent home. This should be an exciting experience for fans and one that will help build a relationship between the city of Tempe and the Coyotes.
Mr. Evans is originally from Greenville, SC where he currently resides. Mr. Evans has been involved in hockey for the past 17 years now, following the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues. During his free time, Mr. Evans enjoys spending time with his family and girlfriend as well as being up in the mountains or taking pictures. Prior to joining The Hockey Writers, Mr. Evans previously worked for The Puck Authority, covering the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and FanSided’s Bleedin’ Blue, covering the St. Louis Blues. You can find Mr. Evans on Twitter at @HaynesPEvans.