Back downtown? Phoenix mayor reaches out to Coyotes

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Calling himself not just the mayor of Phoenix, but a leader for the “entire region,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is vowing to do what he can to keep the Coyotes from relocating out of the metropolitan area.

“It’s really important that this team, the Coyotes, stay in our valley,” Stanton told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM today (audio). “We are lucky to have an NHL franchise in the Valley of the Sun.”

While Stanton has said that he’s hopeful the team can work out its issues with the City of Glendale, if that’s not possible, he’s willing to help broker a return to its old downtown home, now called Talking Stick Resort Arena.

“It would be only smart of them to pursue all other opportunities,” Stanton said of the Coyotes.

The City of Phoenix owns Talking Stick Resort Arena, where the Coyotes played from 1996-2003 before moving to Glendale. The arena’s longtime tenants are the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

Stanton said today that, in the wake of Wednesday’s vote, he reached out to both the Coyotes and Suns and that “both sides want to engage in conversations.”

Perhaps more importantly, Stanton also confirmed that he’s engaged in “preliminary conversations” with the Suns about building a new downtown arena.

“I’m sure those conversations are going to continue and enter a more earnest period over the next few months,” he said.

The Coyotes as potential co-tenants in a new downtown arena obviously brings a whole new factor into that equation.

Now, while many believe the Coyotes would be better off downtown, it’s worth remembering that it’s highly unlikely they’d be able to negotiate the kind of deal with the City of Phoenix to play in a new arena that they were able to get (until it was canceled) with the City of Glendale to play at Gila River Arena.

Would a move downtown offset what amounted to a public subsidy to play in Glendale?

Just one of the many questions that remains unanswered.