Coyotes CEO Gutierrez: Report of potential sale, move ‘incredibly frustrating’

Dec 3, 2021, 11:58 AM

Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez (Photo by Kelsey Grant/NHLI via Getty Images)...

Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez (Photo by Kelsey Grant/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Kelsey Grant/NHLI via Getty Images)

Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez on Thursday called a report that said the team was for sale and targeting a move out of state “completely and utterly false.”

Forbes SportsMoney managing editor Mike Ozanian tweeted Thursday that a “banking guy” told him the Coyotes were for sale “with idea of (a) buyer eventually moving team to a new arena in Houston.”

Gutierrez responded to that loose report on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo.

“It’s baseless and, truth be told, it’s incredibly frustrating because I think it completely overshadows everything we’re doing to show, not only with our words but our actions … our commitment here,” Gutierrez said.

“It’s funny: I heard about this as I was in flight coming back from New York where yesterday I was the panelist for the Sports Business Journal’s dealmakers summit … in which I presented our proposed entertainment district in Tempe and was talking about our commitment we’re making — more than $2 billion dollars of our capital — because we feel so strong and committed here.”

Forbes published no details of any rumored for-sale sign on the team and did not reach out to the Coyotes to confirm the rumor, according to Gutierrez.

In September, it became known that the Coyotes submitted a proposal to build an arena district in Tempe that must be vetted by the city and then voted on in a public meeting.

The proposal for the $1.7 billion development near Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway calls for private funding along with a portion of funding coming from city tax revenues to pay for $200 million on top of that.

The project would include the arena, hotels, apartment and storefront retail spaces.

The city in the statement on Sept. 2 said the evaluation process will take many months and include extensive examinations.

The conclusion of the process would ultimately result in a public meeting and a vote to accept or reject an agreement with the team.

“We are committed to being here in the Valley and we’re excited about this proposal in Tempe that’s been public,” Gutierrez said Thursday.

The city of Glendale announced in August that it would not renew its operating agreement with the Coyotes at their current home of Gila River Arena after many years of quarrels. That means the NHL team will play its last season at the Glendale arena in 2021-22.

The Coyotes remain in search of a temporary home.

Gutierrez told Burns & Gambo there was progress being made on where to play the 2022-23 season but he had no set details to announce.

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