The Arizona Coyotes are denying it, but according to the Glendale Star newspaper, representatives of the team have toured arenas in Seattle and Portland in the past three months.
“The destinations appear to have been the KeyArena in Seattle and the Moda Center in Portland, Ore,” the Star writes, citing officials in Seattle and Portland.
The report comes just days after the Coyotes’ plans to build a new arena in Tempe fell through, and though the team has publicly committed to remaining in Arizona, it won’t quell the speculation that the club could be on the move.
“Unfortunately, it appears the ASU deal will not being moving forward,” said Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc. “We will continue to explore other options that will ensure a successful future for the team and our fans. We’re a determined bunch — on the ice and off the ice. We intend to do everything we can to keep NHL hockey here in Arizona.”
Seattle and Portland have long been rumored as potential landing spots for the Coyotes, and the NHL has made no secret its interest in putting a team in the Pacific Northwest.
Though Seattle does not yet have a suitable arena, the city is exploring a renovation of KeyArena, the old home of the NBA’s SuperSonics. There is also a competing bid to build an arena in the SoDo part of town.
Portland does have a suitable arena, the Moda Center being home to the NBA’s Trail Blazers. Back in 2013, there was reportedly “serious” interest in bringing the Coyotes to Oregon.