We all thought this was over. After the City of Glendale and the then Phoenix Coyotes agreed to a 15-year agreement in 2013 desert hockey fans felt comfortable that their team would be around for the long term. Jump ahead to June 2015 when Glendale voided the agreement in a surprise move that seemed to shock even the owners of the Coyotes. The two groups agreed to a short term, two year, deal to provide some stability in July.
It seems that expansion is a more likely move for the NHL (i.e. Las Vegas franchise). Adding two teams would even out the current 16 East – 14 West conference split, but it wouldn’t rule out a move for Arizona. The team could likely move to a different spot in town that would be more beneficial to the team and their fans. Below are the most obvious three sites:
It’s no secret that the Coyotes have reached out to local groups for support. An interesting move Arizona State Sun Devils, who recently moved up to Division I NCAA hockey, have decided to partner with the Coyotes to share the facilities throughout the college season. This is an interesting move since the Sun Devils are based in Tempe, roughly an hour across town. A Tempe facility could serve both groups and transport the team to the East Valley which seems to be the objective for the ownership group; however, the land and cost may be difficult.
We love what they've done with the place! pic.twitter.com/zJ4WHDBrbu
— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) October 4, 2015
Another option is Scottsdale with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Recently the Arizona Diamondbacks have opened a new facility in the same area for Spring Training and offseason training with excellent results. This was also one of the original location suggestions prior to the team moving to the Glendale Arena in 2003.
This seems to be the most logical idea. The Phoenix Suns are looking for a new arena (currently they play in the Talking Stick Resort Arena which opened in 1994, and the Suns could have trouble with the high cost of a new arena on their own. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has expressed support for a shared facility between the Suns and Coyotes. Los Angeles shares the Staples Center between the Kings, Lakers, and Clippers in a downtown district that is similar to Phoenix’s so a shared facility for the Suns and Coyotes is not a longshot.
The NFL experienced trouble with Glendale during the 2015 Super Bowl. This was an issue that caused the league to move many events out of Glendale to other parts of the Valley, most notably downtown. The Coyotes ownership group appears to be done dealing with the City of Glendale after the current agreement expires. Yet an agreement would need to be put in place of at least a year or two to allow for a new stadium to be built. In the meantime, the Coyotes still have “Still in Glendale, Arizona” as their location on Twitter.
Aaron Davis is an Arizona native and die-hard hockey fan. He played high school club hockey (poorly). He produces/co-hosts a podcast on the Heroes Media Group Network. His teams are: Coyotes, & Penguins, as well as, the Cardinals, Yankees, Suns, Everton, Steelers, Diamondbacks, & Pirates. He can be reached on Twitter – @AKD_56.