Report: Coyotes expressed interest in Arizona hub site for NHL play

Apr 22, 2020, 12:41 PM
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

The Arizona Coyotes reportedly told the NHL it was interested in having its state serve as the host site for NHL games to resume the season, according to The Athletic’s Craig Morgan on Wednesday.

The team declined to comment on the matter.

The idea isn’t new within the sport or outside of it; similar hub site ideas have been tossed around for other cities to get the NHL back up and running, while Major League Baseball has reportedly eyed Arizona as an isolated site for getting its season underway.

The NHL season paused on March 12, and since then, rampant speculation, reports and ideas have been floated on how to get players back on the ice. North Dakota and New Hampshire were among the proposed locations, although Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friemdan reported Tuesday that the idea of putting NHL teams in “neutral sites” looked like it wasn’t happening.

Instead, Friedman wrote, there’s an idea to have one NHL city for each division to serve as a neutral site, with multiple games per day being played at the arena to finish the regular season. If the Coyotes were to be part of this plan, then the teams from Vegas, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose would be the ones in question.

It’s not clear how playing multiple games per day in an NHL arena would affect teams’ abilities to get morning skates done. It’s typical for both the home and away teams to skate on the morning of a game, take a break for the afternoon and re-convene in the evening for the game.

In Arizona, a handful of ice rinks could be used for the purpose of practice time, including the Ice Den in Scottsdale, which the Coyotes have used for some practices and offseason skates. Locker room space, weight training facilities, health and medical rooms, hotels, media accommodations, fair scheduling and other considerations could all potentially be logistical hurdles to clear for this to happen.

There’s also the likelihood of other NHL cities throwing their hats into the ring as economically-beleaguered municipalities and teams could look to recoup some of the lost revenue that they’ve incurred from the coronavirus pandemic.

Arizona, as of Wednesday morning, had 5,459 reported coronavirus cases.

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