The Arizona Coyotes are not expected to relocate ahead of the 2023-24 season, NHL deputy commissioner told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski today. The team’s long-term future remains undecided after Tempe voters failed to approve the team’s plan for a new arena and entertainment district in the city.
However, the tone surrounding the future of the team in Arizona seems more optimistic this afternoon than immediately after the Coyotes (and NHL) learned the results of the Tempe arena vote last night. Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo reaffirmed today the team’s preferred course of action is to stay in Arizona, while PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan reports “there is still a path forward for the Coyotes in Arizona.”
The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta adds the NHL remains in line with Coyotes ownership, preferring to keep the team in place, although the league is still open to considering relocation.
It’s unclear what that path is, nor is it apparent what’s changed in the last 24 hours to constitute the revived confidence of a long-term fix for the Coyotes’ off-ice issues. Still, it’s a sigh-of-relief moment for Coyotes fans and players, who were understandably devastated by last night’s news.
On-ice for Arizona, stability for next season this early in the process of finding a new long-term plan is great news. With a home confirmed, at least for next season, general manager Bill Armstrong should have a much easier time re-signing any pending free agents he chooses and potentially attracting free agents outside the organization looking for more playing time. The team is still years away from having a competitive core, but a small step forward should be expected next season as their young talent continues to develop.
For God’s sake, why do they insist on keeping this team there? Make it stop.
If they announce relocation and play in Mullet Arena they will be lucky to get 2 thousand people on average night.Did you see attendance Oakland A’s are getting those days?
They’ll still fill Mullett only because it seats just 4k, the A’s only dropped 10% in attendance
Yeah? It isn’t as if the Yotes haven’t been used to playing far under capacity since, well, the 1990s.
They won’t move yet because they need some time to call every mid-sized city in North America to see how much taxpayer funding and sweetheart deal tax-breaks they can score. That takes time.
Listen, I love the Coyotes. I think the Space Coyote is one of the best logo and jersey designs in the league. Karel Vejmelka is a joy to watch. But by the gods, can we please just take this franchise off life support?
They have become a dumping ground for bad contracts, and the ownership arrogantly expects taxpayers in Arizona to buy them a brand new arena. Enough already. I’m sure the folks in Tempe and Greater Phoenix love hockey, especially a good team, but good on the voters down there for smelling a rotten deal off the hop.
Phoenix was a good minor league town, back in the day. I expect that moving the Roadrunners to Phoenix would pull in 5-6 thousand a night, which’d be one of the higher attendances in the AHL Pacific — they managed that much 50 years ago back in the old WHL days.
Why did every knowledgeable person who ever led Tempe think this was was the greatest deal ever from a fiscal standpoint. The voters were lied too and will pay immense taxes to remediate the dump site instead of having a vibrant entertainment district anchored by the arena.
Whooosh, there’s a lot of hyperbole there, doncha think? What I expect the voters were thinking was that billionaire owners have been alternatively threatening and pushing taxpayers to foot the bill for their ever more expensive fancy stadium toys for quite a long while now, and all along the way, politicians have been gladhanded into signing off on the feeding frenzies. (After all, Bringing! In! A! New! Arena! looks better in campaign ads than “We saved you from paying off these bonds for the next 25 years.)
What the voters were also likely thinking was that too many cities have been lied to by too many pols and owners over the years. They might also be thinking that they’re the best judges of what they want to spend their entertainment dollars on, that the Tempe area is not precisely devoid of entertainments and restaurants already, that the dump site doesn’t need “remediation” any more urgently than at any other time over the last few decades, and that since Meruelo is a billionaire, what prevents him from financing all of this out of his own pocket if it’s such an awesome proposal?
It’s obvious that the state of Arizona doesn’t want the Coyotes. They can’t pay their bills because they can’t get enough attendance and income. Nobody will subsidize the team or a new arena. To an outsider, Phoenix should be the perfect place for any major sport franchise but the fanbase just isn’t there for the Coyotes or they are too far spread out across the state. Why the NHL keeps trying to maintain this farce is ridiculous. Even winning the rights to Bedard wouldn’t have saved this team. As a league or any group, you are only as strong as your weakest member and this is so very very weak.
Pack it up and head to Houston!!!!!
JD in NS
Just go to Houston or KC already. We know why they’ll never move, Gary Bettman’s huge ego.
If you are not a Yotes fan, please say a prayer that we can keep our team. For many of us hockey keeps us going. If you want a team in another city lobby the league to expand not relocate.
If Arizona wanted a team they should have lobbied the NHL for an expansion team and not to relocate the Jets back in 95.
nah…..what about the people of Winnipeg, who lost their original Jets to you?….I was a die hard North Stars fan…they moved because the owner had an affair and was caught-moved the team out of spite…. I can’t tolerate the Wild- stupid name, stupid colors….yes..it sucks to lose a team…but, if there is no support, praying isn’t gonna help. the Jets had support. the North Stars had support. Coyotes? not so much….
You think the Wild is stupid?
Try being a Blue Jacket.
Haha… stupid name? Who doesn’t cheer for a BJ?
Are you saying the North Star colors were better than the Wild?
It’s cheaper not to pay the fee and just steal some other city’s team. Uncool, but cheaper.
Everyone forgets that we NEED the team in Arizona. Stop saying otherwise!!!
How else can cap-strapped teams dump their garbage?
How can any league even consider keeping a cap killing enterprise like this around……unless using that losing enterprise to keep the cap from rising is the reason to keep it going?
In the meantime, feel free to park your LTIR players in the Mullet parking lot.
The NHL should be trying to keep the team in Arizona. Hockey can work in Arizona! But it doesn’t work without a building, and clock’s ticking louder than ever
Arizona has had DECADES to prove that it was interested in supporting NHL hockey. Whether it “can” or not, the evidence is overwhelming that the locals aren’t.
Hockey can work in Arizona, absolutely, but not when billionaires are grovelling on their knees begging taxpayers to buy a new arena for them. “Buy us a new toy or you don’t love hockey” is a terrible bad faith pitch to ANY market.
Arizona doesn’t want a hockey team. It’s clear.
It’s very clear that Arizona just can’t afford to keep an NHL team. They would do great with an AHL team. The Coyotes should be moved to Salt Lake City, branding them as either the Utah Sting or Salt Lake Stingers. Then move the AHL affiliate from Tucson bringing back the Phoenix Roadrunners with them playing at Mullet Arena.