The City of Glendale’s statement indicated that the Arizona Coyotes might need to find a new arena after the 2021-22 season. Yet, in responses, both the Coyotes and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hint that there might still be some room to “negotiate” with Glendale.
Beyond that, the Coyotes and Bettman both indicated that the Coyotes plan to play in an arena in Arizona (ideally the Phoenix area), whether a Glendale solution happens or not.
If you’ve followed this endless Coyotes saga, you probably feel safe assuming one thing: it will probably just keep going.
Coyotes address Glendale Gila River Arena lease situation in statement
Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez addressed the Glendale/Gila River Arena situation in the team’s official statement on Thursday.
“We are disappointed by today’s unilateral decision by the City of Glendale to break off negotiations on a multi-year lease extension agreement. We are hopeful that they will reconsider a move that would primarily damage the small businesses and hard-working citizens of Glendale. We remain open to restarting good-faith negotiations with the City.
“Most importantly, the Coyotes are one hundred percent committed to finding a long-term arena solution here in Arizona, and nothing will shake our determination to do what is right for our organization, residents of the entire Valley and, most important, our fans.”
Again, the key points are that the Coyotes hope Glendale will restart “good-faith negotiations” regarding using Gila River Arena, and if not, the team will try to stay in Arizona.
In particular, there have been rumblings about the Coyotes possibly moving to a Tempe arena at some point. Of course, such ideas fell through — just like many other hopes for this perpetually-struggling franchise.
Rule of thumb: it’s not ideal when the Arizona Republic runs a 25-year retrospective on your arena struggles, but that’s the reality of the once-Phoenix Coyotes.
25 years of arena drama: Timeline of Arizona Coyotes in Arizona https://t.co/Ur6VzIAYuf
— azcentral (@azcentral) August 19, 2021
Bettman wonders if Glendale is negotiating for better arena terms with Coyotes
During an appearance on WFAN 660, Gary Bettman discussed a number of issues. He talked up the Seattle Kraken, while expressing his reluctance for NHL players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Toward the end of that interview (around the 28-minute mark), Bettman emphasized that he isn’t worried about the Coyotes’ arena situation.
“First of all, I don’t think the Coyote franchise is going anywhere, I think the City of Glendale is negotiating,” Bettman said.
Bettman wonders if Glendale demanded that the Coyotes sign something along the lines of a 20-year lease, or they wouldn’t renew the Gila River Arena agreement.
Perhaps chalk this up to experience: Bettman’s seen many arena-related twists and turns for the Coyotes, including with Glendale. It was probably naive of anyone to wonder if there might be some sort of clarity after the 2021-22 season.
Instead, it seems like the drama will continue, even if it’s not exactly the sauciest soap opera. Instead, it’s mostly a bummer.