Ray Anderson: ASU will soon prioritize renovating Desert Financial Arena
Desert Financial Arena is in “dire” need of upgrades and will be a priority for Arizona State University after it finishes constructing a multi-purpose facility that will house its own hockey team as well as the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes temporarily, vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson said Wednesday.
Desert Financial Arena is the current home to the Sun Devils’ basketball teams, wrestling team and gymnastics squad.
“We know we have got to address that,” Anderson told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta. “We said that several years ago. You may remember the original plan was to try to do hockey and basketball together. It became very clear to us that trying to do that combined project in the location was not going to work. We pivoted to focus first on the multi-purpose arena, which you know is now about to be complete.
“We never lost sight, yes, that Desert Financial … is in dire need, very frankly, of improvements. That is clearly on our radar. I anticipate we will be pivoting to that very quickly, because we need to.”
The school initially in 2018 planned for a joint project to renovate what was then called Wells Fargo Arena. A hockey venue was to be added to it.
In 2020, ASU opted to create a separate arena for the hockey team.
The school recently announced the 5,000 facility would house the Coyotes for at least the next three years as the NHL club finds and builds a permanent home. The Coyotes will finish the 2021-22 season playing at Gila River Arena, as their lease agreement will run out.
Arizona State has been considering major upgrades to its indoor basketball arena since at least 2016, but the evolving needs for the hockey team’s arena and the pandemic have led to delays in the planning process.