Sources: Gary Bettman, Coyotes met with Valley officials to discuss new arena
GLENDALE, Ariz. — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc had meetings Monday in the Valley with key potential stakeholders regarding a new arena in the greater Phoenix area, multiple sources confirmed to Arizona Sports.
Bettman and LeBlanc met with state leadership, officials from Arizona State University and officials from the City of Phoenix, including Mayor Greg Stanton.
Arizona Sports could not confirm whether Bettman and LeBlanc met with officials from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community regarding a proposed location along the 101 corridor, though Bettman did tell Arizona Sports recently that the league has no face-value objections to the idea of an NHL arena on tribal lands.
At Saturday’s Coyotes town hall meeting, LeBlanc said he expects to make some sort of arena announcement within the next six weeks, although if the Coyotes need to extend the timeline a bit, it shouldn’t pose any problems.
A more concrete deadline for the Coyotes might be to make an announcement before the fiscal year expires on June 30 and free agency begins on July 1. Corporate sponsors would likely want clarity heading into the new fiscal year, as would free agents.
The Coyotes two-year lease at Gila River Arena expires after next season. The City of Glendale voided the original 15-year agreement last summer.
When asked at the town hall meeting about the possibility of staying in Glendale long-term, LeBlanc said: “I will never say never, but it’s highly, highly unlikely.”
Multiple reports have cited an ASU location on Karsten Golf Course, a downtown location near Talking Stick Resort Arena, the 101 location and even a Mesa location near the Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility as potential sites for a new arena. Depending on the location, the building could also house the Suns and ASU sports, including the Sun Devils’ fledgling Division I hockey team.