Report: Coyotes in talks with ASU to temporarily share new arena

Jan 27, 2022, 12:13 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm

The Arizona Coyotes are reportedly in “advanced discussions” with Arizona State University and arena manager OVG Facilities to use the school’s new multi-purpose arena as a temporary home, according to PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan.

ASU’s new arena is scheduled to be completed this fall and would host Coyotes home games while the team awaits the approval and construction of the pro hockey team’s proposed stadium along the south side of Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe.

While he did not dive to deep into the report, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Thursday that he believes a resolution on where the team will play will be reached soon.

“As we have said many times, we are completely committed to building our future in Arizona,” the Coyotes said in a statement to Arizona Sports. “As part of that process, we are excited to be exploring some great temporary arena options here before we move into a new permanent home in the Valley.”

Negotiations are for a three-year deal, with a fourth-year option if construction of the aforementioned permanent arena takes longer than anticipated, per the report.

“If an agreement for use of our multipurpose arena is finalized, we would be glad to help the Coyotes by providing a temporary home while their new arena is built just a couple of miles away,” Arizona State executive vice president, treasurer and CFO Morgan R. Olsen told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday. “Our new multipurpose arena also would benefit from the addition of NHL-level enhancements paid for by the Coyotes that would remain with our building.

“We are beyond excited to open this wonderful new ASU arena. This agreement would just make it even more special,” Olsen added.

At a capacity of only 5,000, Arizona State’s arena is a steep decline from the over 18,000 that can be seated at Gila River Arena or even the 10,000 at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

However, due to NCAA compliance, the Coyotes are not allowed to use the same team areas as Sun Devil hockey. In order to share within compliance, the Coyotes would have to build their own facilities without any financial aid from ASU.

The necessary construction would require approval from the Arizona Board of Regents and cost Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo $15-20 million, according to Morgan.

Other potential conflicts that could arise should the Coyotes and ASU share an arena include the Sun Devil hockey team having priority for all future dates, which features 24 home games next season on Fridays or Saturdays at 7 p.m.

Arizona State’s new multi-purpose arena — which includes 20 luxury suites, two group suites, a large club lounge and event-level premium club seats — is also set to host the Sun Devil wrestling team and gymnastics teams, in addition to other events such as concerts, conferences and youth competitions.

A move to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum is feasible, but would cost an estimated $40-50 million for renovations, Morgan says. “The Madhouse on McDowell” does not feature any luxury suites and would need to be prepared for ice, as well upgrade concessions and restrooms.

The state-owned stadium would also require approval from the state of Arizona and any renovations would not be complete by the start of the 2022-23 NHL season.

The city of Glendale and Gila River Arena manager ASM Global told the Coyotes last year that the team must leave the venue when the fiscal year ends on June 30.

KTAR News’ Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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