Officials for the city of Glendale, Ariz., say they are willing to renegotiate its Gila River Arena lease deal for the Arizona Coyotes, but will still move forward with terminating the 15-year, $225 million agreement with the NHL team.
The city council voted last week to end the current deal with the Coyotes, citing a conflict-of-interest law involving two former city employees who left to go work for the franchise.
City officials say the main issue of the lease termination is the law and the only way to get the facts out about the case is in court.
“Let me be clear. This is not about hockey. We want the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale, and we want more than anything for the Arizona Coyotes to succeed in Glendale,” Glendale interim assistant city manager Tom Duensing said, according to the Arizona Republic. “As we have consistently indicated to the team, we are willing to negotiate a mutual agreement where everybody is a winner.”
“We expect the City of Glendale to honor its contractual commitments,” the Coyotes said in a statement. “We intend to continue to honor ours.”
A Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court judge granted the team’s request last week for a temporary injunction to keep the city from immediately ending the arena lease agreement.
The Coyotes have played at the 17,000-seat Gila River Arena since 2003.
The franchise has had legal issues for years, after former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in 2009, forcing the NHL to run the Coyotes for four years before an ownership group led by Anthony LeBlanc and Andrew Barroway bought the team in 2013. Barroway has since relinquished his majority stake in the team.
Should the Phoenix area lose the team, several cities including Seattle, Portland, and Las Vegas and Quebec City have been cited as possible homes for an expansion or relocated NHL franchise.
- Scooby Axson