Bettman, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Las Vegas
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Arizona Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc denied a New York Post report that said the league is arranging for the team to be sold to billionaire William Foley, who will move the team to Las Vegas, according to Craig Morgan of Fox Sports.
The Post reports that the move will be done for the 2016–17 season.
Bettman told Morgan that the Post “was told the story was completely untrue. They ran it anyway. The story is garbage. Team is staying put.”
LeBlanc, who is also the team's president and CEO, told Morgan that the Post report is “100% false.”
The Post reports that a source said Las Vegas has reached 10,000 season ticket deposits, a number that Foley said earlier this year he needed in order to get an NHL franchise.
On Monday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ordered the City of Glendale to make a $3.75 million payment that is due to the Coyotes on Wednesday. Earlier in June, the city council voted to end the current arena lease deal with the Coyotes. Officials said they were willing to renegotiate the lease deal but were moving forward with terminating the 15-year, $225 million agreement with the team.
The Coyotes have played at the 17,000-seat Gila River Arena since 2003. The team changed its name from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Arizona Coyotes last year.
Las Vegas does not currently have a major league sports team. There have long been concerns about risks of legal sports betting if a team were to be located in the area.
Earlier this month, Bettman said he's not worried about legal gambling affecting the integrity of games.
In 2014, MGM and AGE broke ground on a 20,000 seat arena that has been considered a potential place to put an NHL team should a team relocate to the city.
- Molly Geary