Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers sent a letter to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, asking him not to take the Coyotes from the Glendale, the Arizona Republic reported Thursday. The Republic obtained correspondence between the two city’s mayors and staffs through a public records request.
Stanton has made it clear recently that he would like an arena built downtown to house the Coyotes, Suns and Mercury, but he told Weiers in his return letter that he only began considering that possibility after “Coyotes representatives approached the City of Phoenix, declaring the team’s relationship with Glendale irrevocably broken and expressing a strong desire to permanently relocate to downtown Phoenix.”
The Coyotes have one year left on their lease agreement at Gila River Arena after the city voided an earlier, 15-year agreement.
In the letter to Stanton, Weiers said the City of Glendale is engaged in private negotiations to keep the Coyotes in Glendale. That was news to Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc.
“I don’t understand why there is this commentary that we’re in serious discussions about a long-term extension with Glendale,” LeBlanc said. “We could not be more clear that we’re not and it has nothing to do with the facility. We think the building is fantastic. We just can’t continue a relationship with people we don’t trust.”
In Weiers’ letter, he also questioned Stanton’s leadership, noting that “to be an effective regional leader requires engagement and communication with all of the Valley partners. In this case, I feel that has not been accomplished.”
LeBlanc took issue with that characterization.
“What Greg Stanton is doing is the epitome of leadership,” he said. “He recognizes that we are a regional asset and he is doing everything within his power to find a solution.”
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CHECK
Four Coyotes are currently playing on the World Championships in Russia: forward Max Domi (Canada), defenseman Connor Murphy (third straight tournament for the United States), forward Tobias Rieder (Germany) and forward Sergei Plotnikov (Russia). Following Thursday’s games, Domi did not have a point for Canada (4-0), Murphy had two goals for the U.S. (2-2), Plotnikov had an assist for Russia (3-1) and Rieder had a goal and an assist for Germany (1-2-1).
Coyotes center prospect Christian Dvorak finished third in Ontario Hockey League postseason points, helping lead the London Knights to the Robertson Cup as league champions. Dvorak had 14 goals and 35 points in 18 games for the Knights, who swept Niagara, 4-0, in the OHL Championship Series. Dvorak scored with 3:23 remaining in the first period for the only goal in a 1-0 victory on Wednesday in St. Catharines, Ontario to clinch the title. London lost two games in its first-round series with Owen Sound, but swept Kitchener, Erie and Niagara.
Coyotes prospect Dylan Strome (Erie) finished sixth in playoff scoring with 10 goals and 21 points in 13 games. Kitchener center Ryan MacInnis had five goals and 13 points in nine games; North Bay defenseman Kyle Wood two goals and 13 points in 11 games and Niagara wing Brendan Perlini had six goals and nine points in 14 games.
In the QMJHL, Moncton wing Conor Garland had five goals and 15 points in 17 playoff games.
Coach Dave Tippett is in Sedona for amateur and pro scouting meetings with the Coyotes extended staff. On the docket: draft and free-agent evaluations, including the team’s own free agents.
“There ‘s still some time here; it’s only May 11 so these meetings give us a chance to evaluate a lot of things and then we can move forward from there,” Tippett said.
— Tippett said negotiations are ongoing with assistant coach Newell Brown on a new contract.
— There is no update on the team’s search for an assistant GM to work with new GM John Chayka, president of hockey operations Gary Drummond and Tippett, who added the title of executive vice president of hockey operations last week. .