Coyotes to play at Mullett Arena in 2023-24, seeking new Valley site
May 17, 2023, 12:26 PM | Updated: 4:57 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The Arizona Coyotes will play at Mullett Arena as planned in the 2023-24 season amid uncertainty about their future in the state, the team confirmed to Arizona Sports on Wednesday.
The NHL team in 2022-23 played its first season at Arizona State’s 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, by far the NHL’s smallest arena. The Coyotes and ASU have a deal for the pro team to play two more years at the arena with an option for 2025-26.
In addition, Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said in a statement to season-ticket holders the franchise has already “started re-engaging with local officials and sites to solidify a new permanent home in Valley.”
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski first reported NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that he does not “envision a scenario in which the Coyotes are not playing in Mullett Arena next season.”
It comes after the results of a Tempe public vote released Tuesday night stopped the Coyotes from moving forward and building a new arena and entertainment district.
The $2.1 billion project was expected to create a 16,000-seat arena, practice rink, 300,000 square feet of upscale retail, 1,600 apartments, two hotels and a theater at Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway. With that plan squashed, it’s unclear if the team has a backup plan to remain in Arizona or will pursue a relocation to another state.
The Coyotes’ brief statements after learning of the Tempe vote results initially did not reassure local fans that the NHL club would fight to remain in Arizona.
“We are very disappointed Tempe voters did not approve Propositions 301, 302, and 303,” Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in a statement. “As Tempe mayor Corey Woods said, it was the best sports deal in Arizona history. The Coyotes wish to thank everyone who supported our efforts and voted yes. So many community leaders stepped up and became our advocates and for that we are truly grateful.
“We also wish to thank the countless volunteers who worked so hard to try and make the Tempe Entertainment District a reality and the Tempe City Council for their support as well. While we wanted a different outcome, we remain grateful to all those who volunteered their time and talent. What is next for the franchise will be evaluated by our owners and the National Hockey League over the coming weeks.”
Nearly 30,000 voters — a turnout of 32.6% — submitted ballots for Prop 301, Prop 302 and Prop 303.
As of the initial returns at 8 p.m. Tuesday that had yet to be updated as of noon Wednesday, Prop 301 and 302 had “no” votes leading 56% to 44% “yes” votes.
“No” votes led Prop 303 at 57% to 43%.
Prop 301 amended the general plan for the land. Prop 302 rezoned the land for the development and 303 allowed the city to enter an agreement with Bluebird Development.
All three propositions had to pass for the arena plan to go through.