Gutierrez: Arena agreement with ASU ‘an exciting chapter’ for Coyotes

Feb 11, 2022, 5:05 PM | Updated: 5:41 pm
Alex Galchenyuk #17 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates his goal at the bench during the third period...
Alex Galchenyuk #17 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates his goal at the bench during the third period of a game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on February 09, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes and Arizona State University made quite the stir Thursday when the NHL hockey team announced it had come to an agreement to temporarily share the Sun Devils’ new multi-purpose arena being built in Tempe.

Beginning next season, all of the Coyotes’ home games through 2024-25 will take place in Tempe, with an additional option for 2025-26 while Arizona awaits the approval and construction of a proposed stadium just a mile and a half down the road.

Arizona will also be moving its corporate offices to the East Valley.

The Coyotes are officially Tempe bound.

“This is an exciting chapter,” Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday. “I think what it shows (is) we are fully committed to being here in the Valley. We have said this from the beginning and this is an action that shows that. … This is a state-of-the-art new facility that is being built at ASU. And we’re excited because we do believe this is going to be the most exciting experience and environment in the NHL.

“Every seat is a lower bowl seat in a brand new facility, state of the art in Tempe centrally located to fans, to corporate partners, to community partners. And we just are very grateful that it got to this point.”

Discussions on the temporary stay began in the fall, which also includes well over $25 million in investments from Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo for a new locker room and medical office space that gets the arena up to NHL standards and separates the club from the college team, Gutierrez added.

While the Coyotes believe this is a big step in a positive direction in their hopes of getting an arena of their own built in Tempe, the question looms on how much leaving Gila River Arena and its 18,000-seat capacity for ASU’s 5,000-seat venue will impact Arizona’s checkbook.

The Coyotes “fundamentally believe” the move to Tempe puts them close to not only a corporate base, but a fan base and a fan-in-waiting base with the 80,000 or so students attending ASU, Gutierrez said.

“All of our analysis shows that there will be no material impact, And that actually we, in many instances, may be better off financially,” Gutierrez said. “That again starts with the fact that you have a brand new facility in which every seat is going to be a lower bowl seat. It gets us back up to the NHL averages when it comes to those price points.”

The Coyotes take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station for all the action.

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Gutierrez: Arena agreement with ASU ‘an exciting chapter’ for Coyotes