For general manager John Chayka, the Arizona Coyotes’ strenuous arena situation does not seem to affect his day-to-day responsibilities.
In an interview with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug & Wolf, Chayka said that the arena situation has not really impacted his efforts to negotiate with players.
“To be honest with you, it’s never come up in any type of negotiation I’ve had,” Chayka said. “There’s a lot of emphasis placed on, you know, the state of the team, our young players, where we are going with things and the lifestyle down here.”
Recent comments from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman further inflamed the situation between the league and the city of Glendale. Bettman made clear the league’s position on the Coyotes current home.
“The simple truth: The Arizona Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed,” Bettman said in a letter to the state legislature. “The Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale.”
He urged support for Senate Bill 1149, a bill that would help finance a new location closer to the downtown area.
Team majority owner Andrew Barroway also did not mince words in his rebuke of the Glendale arena, saying the “location is wrong — both geographically and economically.”
While Chayka said the battle is not affecting his negotiating, he added that he does care about the outcome. He shared the same sentiment as the league and ownership regarding the need for a better economic option.
“In order to have a successful organization, you have to have an economically feasible arena solution,” he said. “Currently, right now, we don’t.”
Chayka may not see the arena issue come up in negotiations, but the players on the current roster have it on their minds. Per AZCentral’s Sarah McLellan, team captain Shane Doan said players feel a sense of helplessness in the face of the uncertainty.
Although Barroway mentioned the team would take “next steps” if there was no way to work things out in Arizona, Chayka praised the commitment ownership has maintained to the state. The current group purchased the team from the NHL in 2013.
“I think this ownership group has shown commitment to this market,” Chayka said. “There are a lot of options. The players want to stay here and ownership will try to make that happen. The revenues impact all of us, so we just do our jobs and let ownership decide what is best for revenue purposes.
Chayka, 27, is in his first year as general manager in Arizona. The Coyotes are 23-35-7 (53 points) and rank last in the Pacific Division.
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