Shane Doan: Work now begins for Coyotes in next phase of arena plans

Jun 3, 2022, 2:06 PM
Shane Doan walks out onto the ice during a pregame ceremony in his honor and to retire his jersey a...
Shane Doan walks out onto the ice during a pregame ceremony in his honor and to 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)

Arizona Coyotes chief hockey development officer Shane Doan has an in-depth understanding of how the franchise’s roller coaster goes better than anyone, so leave it to him to best describe the emotions before Thursday’s Tempe City Council vote went in favor of the Coyotes.

“For me personally, it’s been up and down so much over 25 years that, yeah, I was nervous because that’s the way it’s been,” he told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Friday.

The vote of 5-2 that allows the Coyotes to proceed with negotiations for a new arena in Tempe was the first of many required big steps forward that would help secure the future of Coyotes hockey in Arizona, which has been notoriously unstable for the majority of Doan’s stay in the Valley since he arrived from Winnipeg in 1996.

“It isn’t the endgame but it is a step in the direction we want to go,” Doan said.

The “yes” vote will continue the process of planning for the hockey arena, as well as other properties around the proposed location of Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway such as hotels, offices, retail and residential spaces.

Thursday’s eight-hour council meeting included an “element of confidence and preparedness” from the Coyotes, as Doan put it.

Arizona’s long-term stay would include the NHL guaranteeing a future NHL Draft and All-Star Game for the city of Tempe, on top of a 30-year non-relocation agreement being signed by the organization, per PHNX Sports’ Chierstin Susel.

The Coyotes said they will invest $1.7 billion in private funds to turn land that was previously a landfill into an arena, a practice facility that will have ice available to the public, as well as retail, hospitality, office and about 1,500 residential units. It will cost an estimated $200 million to clean up the site and prepare the infrastructure before construction begins.

The proposal includes a plan to find the necessary money “without raising taxes or using current city revenues by issuing public infrastructure bonds sold to private investors,” according to the project proposal’s website.

The NHL club owned by Alex Meruelo projects the entertainment district could create close to 7,000 jobs in Tempe and generate $180 million for the city alone over 30 years, among other benefits.

The Coyotes getting past the vote was a required start to the process for the franchise and now it must keep that momentum going.

“We feel like that was a big step,” Doan said. “It was important that we got it done and now we got to get to work and kind of figure out a way to get this all the way home.”

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Shane Doan: Work now begins for Coyotes in next phase of arena plans