ARIZONA COYOTES

Coyotes’ Gutierrez: Mullett Arena locker room annex will be ready before next homestand

Oct 28, 2022, 5:56 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2022, 12:01 am

The Arizona Coyotes open their Mullett Arena tenure in Tempe on Friday night.

The team hosts the Winnipeg Jets (Friday), New York Rangers (Sunday), Florida Panthers (Tuesday) and the Dallas Stars (Thursday) before heading out on a 14-game road trip from Nov. 5 to Dec. 7.

However, the locker rooms that the NHL teams will be using — which differ from Arizona State hockey due to NCAA rules — will not be ready until December, Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday.

“According to the (builder), it’ll actually be open ahead of that time, so we feel quite confident there will be no issues,” he said of Arizona’s next home stand on Dec. 9 against the Boston Bruins.

For now, the Coyotes will use the college visitors’ locker room while the Jets, Rangers, Panthers and Stars will use the attached community rink with curtains around it as a makeshift locker room for the first four NHL games at Mullett Arena.

“The thing that we’ve said from Day 1 was we’re going to be fully transparent,” Gutierrez said “The four teams — I spoke to their presidents, their GMs — the (NHLPA) has been fully involved, the NHL is fully involved. Nothing is a surprise. … It’s temporary.”

The Coyotes president and CEO also added that the reason for playing the first four home games prior to the completion of the annex was to prevent Arizona from spending the first eight weeks of the season on the road.

“The annex is the locker room facility and the medical and all the offices that you need for NHL officials,” Gutierrez said. “It’s right above Mullett Arena and we’re building it from scratch.

“It’s going to be the best top-of-the-line locker rooms that you will see in the NHL. Because of NCAA compliance rules, we could not use the locker rooms for ASU. So we got together with the NHL and said what do we need to do and we’ll pay for it.”

November will be an important month for the organization, too, as the city of Tempe and the team will have three public hearings on the permanent stadium proposal.

The first is a “planning review session” on Nov. 15, followed by a council meeting on Nov. 22 and a vote on Nov. 29.

“We feel quite confident that it’s the right project, it’s the right proposal and we’re the right ownership group,” Gutierrez said. “$2.1 billion privately financed — the first ever sports and entertainment district that’s privately financed in the state of Arizona.”

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