Finally! Coyotes announce plans for new arena

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It took a while — much longer than they anticipated — but the Arizona Coyotes have finally announced plans to build a new arena.

From the club:

The Arizona Coyotes announced today that they have entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Catellus Development Corporation, master developer for the Arizona State University Athletic Facilities District, to work towards the finalization of a new arena and commercial development project within the district along Tempe Town Lake. The site of the proposed new arena is the Northwest corner of E. Rio Salado Parkway and South McClintock Drive. This marks the beginning of a detailed process to secure a new home for the Arizona Coyotes.

The plan includes the construction of a 16,000-plus seat NHL arena for the Coyotes with an attached additional 4,000 seat multi-sport arena. The second arena will be utilized by Sun Devils Athletics, Coyotes practices, youth hockey practices and games and community events. These two new additional sheets of ice will continue to help grow the sport at the grass-roots level. In the future, a new hotel and other related amenities will be finalized as part of the second phase of the project.

The agreement provides for a period ending no later than June 30, 2017 to create the overall budget, design and operational plan for the development.

tempe

As you can see, Tempe is a lot closer to Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix than the Coyotes’ current home in Glendale.

“Over the past year we have been exhaustive in our research regarding the most optimal location for our new home in the Valley,” said club president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc. “While we have tremendous fans all across the greater Phoenix metro area, not to mention the entire state, it became clear that the East Valley is home to a majority of our fans and corporate partners. Our fans in the West Valley have shown us tremendous support over the past 13 years, and we look forward to working with them as we transition to our new home in the future.”

Here’s a closer look at the site, a.k.a. the back nine of Karsten Golf Course, the former home of the ASU golf team:

tempe2

A rendering provided by the club:

rendering

“I think it’s very exciting for that market,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com. “They’ve had challenges in Glendale and they’ve recently had relationship challenges with the people who run that arena. I think a different location and a better relationship can do wonders for that franchise, and I expect it will.”

Now, shovels aren’t in the ground yet, and the Coyotes were sure to note that this announcement “marks the beginning of a detailed process to secure a new home for the Arizona Coyotes.”

But it’s a very encouraging day for the franchise and its fans. If this arena can actually get built, the relocation rumors — be they to Seattle or Portland or Quebec City — can finally be put to rest and the up-and-coming Coyotes can get on with the business of winning hockey games.

Arizona Sports reporter Craig Morgan has been working hard on this story. Click his article to read more.