ARIZONA COYOTES

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: ‘No issue with the Arizona Coyotes’

Dec 10, 2021, 1:01 PM | Updated: 4:31 pm
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a pregame ceremony to honor Shane Doan and retire his j...
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a pregame ceremony to honor Shane Doan and retire his jersey at Gila River Arena on February 24, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman downplayed any concerns with the Arizona Coyotes and Gila River Arena during Day 2 of the league’s board of governors meetings in Florida on Friday.

“There’s no issue with the Arizona Coyotes. … (Team owner Alex Meruelo) is committed, Alex has the resources and the Coyotes aren’t going anywhere,” Bettman said. “They’re going somewhere else other than Glendale, but they’re not leaving the greater Phoenix area.”

In a letter obtained by ArizonaSports.com on Wednesday from the city of Glendale to Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, the city stated that if the team did not pay the over $1.4 million owed to the city, state and ASM Global — the arena management company — by 5 p.m. MST on Dec. 20, then the NHL club would be locked out of Gila River Arena.

The Coyotes on Thursday said that they had sent money to the Arizona Department of Revenue for unpaid taxes owed after calling the missed payments an “unfortunate human error” in a statement sent Wednesday to ArizonaSports.com.

However, Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps told KTAR News’ Gaydos & Chad on Thursday that the team paid off their debt for the 2021 season that was due on June 30, but one of the checks “did not reconcile” with the arena manager and will require further clarification on what that amount is for.

“I think there was a miscommunication,” Bettman said. “All of the outstanding obligations have become current. How that happened, again, was a long story and a miscommunication, but it’s been taken care of.”

Phelps added that after the city hired an economist to weigh the pros and cons of a future with or without the NHL team, it was determined Glendale would be better off financially without the Coyotes.

“It’s clear the city of Glendale has either an agenda or an edge in the way they’re dealing with the Coyotes,” Bettman said. “… I know Alex Meruelo is committed to Arizona and is working on a plan for a new arena, which is probably what’s agitating the city of Glendale.

“The new arena would be in a place where I think everybody would find it much more accessible and would improve the short term and long term fortunes of the club.”

In August, Glendale announced that it would not be renewing the operating agreement with the Coyotes at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, meaning this season will be the team’s final season at Gila River Arena.

Team leaders have remained adamant that Coyotes would not leave the state of Arizona with their move out of Glendale.

“It’ll take a couple of years to build (an arena) and the fact the city of Glendale wouldn’t want the club to remain in their building on an interim basis speaks volumes about the way they’re approaching this,” Bettman said.

Arizona Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes celebrate after defeating the Nashville Predators in the NHL game at Gila River...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes get No. 3 pick in 2022 NHL Entry Draft

The Arizona Coyotes will pick No. 3 overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on July 7 following Tuesday's draft lottery.
9 days ago
Shane Wright #51 of Team Red skates against Team White in the 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Ki...
Sam Graveline

Outcomes for the Coyotes in the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery; top prospects

With the Arizona Coyotes guaranteed a top four pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, it puts them in prime position to add a top prospect.
12 days ago
Milos Kelemen #12 of Team Slovakia skates with the puck ahead of Ville Pokka #2 of Team Finland in ...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes sign Slovakian forward Milos Keleman to entry-level contract

The Arizona Coyotes signed forward Milos Keleman to a two-year entry-level contract, the team announced on Friday. 
13 days ago
(L-R) Director of Amateur scouting Darryl Plandowski, general manager Bill Armstrong and Associate ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes have second-highest odds for No. 1 overall pick

The Arizona Coyotes have the second-best odds to earn the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft this summer.
16 days ago
Kyle Capobianco #75 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the second period of the NHL...
Arizona Sports

By the numbers: Arizona Coyotes finish season with eyes on future

With a long and uncertain offseason ahead for the Coyotes, let's look at some of the numbers that defined this past year.
17 days ago
Arizona Coyotes players acknowledge the crowd after an NHL hockey game between the Coyotes and the ...
Wills Rice

Arizona Coyotes focus on ‘process’ as rebuild continues

Throughout the 2021-22 season, the Coyotes continued to send young players who could be part of the future out on the ice.
18 days ago
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: ‘No issue with the Arizona Coyotes’