ARIZONA COYOTES

Arizona Coyotes eyeing multiple East Valley sites for new arena district

Jun 28, 2023, 4:15 PM | Updated: 4:17 pm

Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez (Photo by Kelsey Grant/NHLI via Getty Images)...

Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez (Photo by Kelsey Grant/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Kelsey Grant/NHLI via Getty Images)

After failing to secure the votes to build a new sports and entertainment district in Tempe, the Arizona Coyotes are once again searching for a new home in the East Valley.

This time around, however, the Coyotes are changing up their approach in hopes of finally nailing down a new arena site in the near future.

“What we have right now is about a dozen or so sites and folks that we’re talking to,” president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday. “I would say half a dozen of them are leading the chase. Not really focusing on one but having multiple options.

“We’re still very much focused on a privately funded sports and entertainment district. We’re still committed to finding a location in the Valley, specifically in the East Valley. … We believe we are going to put multiple sites into play and shortly after the first of the year, we’ll have more to say publicly about what the plan looks like and what the location looks like.”

The biggest challenge the Coyotes faced in their Tempe plan was the public vote, which ended up squashing Arizona’s plan.

Among the biggest factors in their current and revamped search is avoiding the votes and political tape that comes with the process altogether.

“Obviously, we were very disappointed in the (Tempe arena vote),” Gutierrez said. “We thought we had an amazing opportunity and proposal that would have been really transformative for Tempe and for the Valley. … We changed tactics and we’re looking at sites that would all be in a situation not to be subject to a public vote.”

And as for a hard deadline from the NHL on locking down a new location?

“We do not have a date saying you have to tell us by this date or else we’re going to have to look at other options. Absolutely not,” Gutierrez said. “We have been very, very side-by-side and aligned with the commissioner and the league office about all of our plans.

“No one wants to resolve this more than (owner Alex Meruelo) and us. We want this to be finally put to bed and for there to be a permanent solution, something that’s frankly been an issue since the organization moved here in 1996.”

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