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Arizona Coyotes ownership responds to court proceedings

Arizona Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc spoke outside the courthouse in downtown Phoenix on Friday afternoon.

The team began the legal process Thursday, just one day after the city canceled the 15-year, $225 million deal. It will include a variety of legal maneuvers, but no immediate plans to relocate the team and certainly no renegotiation of the existing agreement.

“The appropriate measure would be for the city of Glendale to go back in session and revoke what they enacted two days ago and move forward as the partnership was negotiated good faith less than two years ago,” LeBlanc said. “We think that’s the only way to move forward.”

Last week, some Glendale council members raised concerns about where the $15 million the city pays IceArizona to operate the arena was going. LeBlanc and Barroway met with city officials Monday and thought they had clarified that issue, only to be surprised when a vote was called Wednesday night to cancel the arena lease agreement.

If the Coyotes are unable to work out their differences with Glendale, there might be a viable option just down the road.

The Coyotes spent their first seven seasons in Arizona sharing a downtown arena with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and a Phoenix city council member has already raised the possibility of another downtown alliance.

Regarding an arena switch, LeBlanc’s attorney Nick Wood said that “the mayor was kind enough to offer and to give us a home in the event that we lost ours, but that was it.”

However, LeBlanc was not shy about the long-term plans of the franchise’s arena.

“In the long run we are interested in staying in Gila River Arena.”

LeBlanc would not comment on what the city is doing internally.

The timing of the proceedings could not be worse for the Coyotes with the NHL Draft and free agency approaching within the next month.

LeBlanc spoke on the impact he thinks the proceedings will have on free agency.

“The free agency market is a very precarious thing,” LeBlanc said. “Most of them are family men. The concept that they could be bringing their family to a location that they may not be in the next year, these are things they think about.”

The next court date is scheduled for June 29.