ARIZONA COYOTES

Glendale will not renew Arizona Coyotes arena agreement after 2021-22

Aug 19, 2021, 1:19 PM | Updated: 4:32 pm
Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Wi...
Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets on October 9, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The city of Glendale said it will “not renew the operating agreement” with the Arizona Coyotes to use the NHL team’s home, Gila River Arena, after the 2021-22 season.

In a Twitter thread, Glendale said it informed the Coyotes this year will be its last at the arena that opened in 2003.

The city said its decision was due to “increased focus on larger, more impactful events and uses of the city-owner arena.”

“We are thankful to the NHL and the Arizona Coyotes for being part of the Glendale community for the past 18 years,” Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps said. “The decision to not renew the operation agreement with the Coyotes was not made overnight or in a vacuum. We carefully weighed input from key stakeholders, our expert economist, our arena management firm and our City Council.

“Over the next year, the city will be announcing many new projects that will generate incredible excitement for residents, visitors and stakeholders. As amazing as the Sports and Entertainment District is today, the next several years will be even more transformative as this momentum continues.”

The Coyotes and Glendale have been currently operating on a year-to-year basis regarding the arena lease.

The Coyotes expressed their disappointment in Glendale’s decision.

“We are disappointed by today’s unilateral decision by the City of Glendale to break off negotiations on a multi-year lease extension agreement,” president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in the statement. “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.”

The Coyotes confirmed in July that they were in discussions with the city of Tempe on a development space where the franchise could put a new arena.

Tempe also confirmed the request for proposals (RFP) on a spot in the East Valley.

Based on the site’s location, the Coyotes are highly interested in this development opportunity and will be responding to the City of Tempe’s request for proposal. Given our determination to remain in the Valley for many years to come, we are actively working to identify the best long-term home for the Coyotes, our devoted fans and this great community.

Arizona Sports has reached out to the Coyotes for comment.

The Coyotes have played at Gila River Arena since moving from America West Arena, which they shared with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, in downtown Phoenix. The Coyotes have operated on an annual lease since 2016 after the Glendale City Council voted to opt out of a long-term agreement.

Arizona had a deal with Arizona State University to build a shared arena but the school backed out.

The Coyotes have been searching for new home since Glendale backed out of its lease agreement, possibly in the more populous suburbs east of Phoenix. New owner Alex Meruelo has said he plans to keep the franchise in Arizona.

Arizona is coming off a 24-26-6 season, failing to make the playoffs in its last year with head coach Rick Tocchet. Andre Tourigny replaced him, the first head coaching hire for general manager Bill Armstrong, who is entering his second season in the position.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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