In the NHL, coyotes are once again looking for ice in the desert – Sportico.com

Arizona coyotes are in transition. They play their last home game at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz, at the end of the month.

Next season, they will move to a new 5,000-seat arena – arguably the smallest in the NHL – on the campus of Arizona State University across the city at Temp, closer to the hockey fan base and support for hockey. The club’s proposal to build a $ 2 billion private-budget lounge and entertainment complex west of the ASU campus has been locked in the temp assessment process since September. Whether or not it will be confirmed is everyone’s guess.

A Temp city spokesman said last week that the assessment was ongoing and that there was no timetable for resolution.

“Unfortunately, we do not manage this process,” Javier Gutierrez, head of the Coyotes, said in an interview. “We are not aware of the timetable.”

Even if approved, it would take four years for a new arena of coyotes to open for trade under favorable conditions. But the team insists it is committed to staying in the Phoenix area, where it has had a rocky existence since moving from Winnipeg in 1996. “This is where we want to be,” Gutierrez said. “We have proposed something spectacular that is a permanent option, and we are excited to move on to the next stage of the process.”

In the meantime, the Coyotes have signed a three-season unconditional lease to play at the ASU facility, said Tim Liuke, chief executive of Oak View Group, partner and operator of the new ASU arena. By Gutierrez

“Right now, their priority is to try to do something with Tempe,” Leiweke said. We support it and stay away from them. “But if that does not happen and we can help in any way, it is clear that they know where we live.”

While ASU is building the arena for its college hockey program, public documents show that the Coyotes have agreed to donate $ 19.7 million to upgrade the now $ 134.7 million project to prepare the NHL.

Having an Oak View group with you is a huge success for coyotes. Oak View and Leiweke were involved in the construction and commissioning of new NHL buildings such as the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York, for the Islanders, and the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle for the development of Kraken. They are also partners and operators of a new arena in Kwachala, California, for the Kraken Small League branch.

Both the team and the company are open to working on a new Tempe arena if approved. “[Oak View] “He has definitely expressed an interest in participating,” Gutierrez said. We will review it as well as several others. “I have been very honest with the team that if we decide to have a partner, they will be in the squad.”

As the former president of the Los Angeles Kings, Liuke has a long-standing friendship and working relationship with NHL commissioner Gary Batman, who wants the Coyotes to succeed in Phoenix.

The NHL moved the coyotes from the Gila River Arena with 17,125 seats to the much smaller ASU facility after the team and the city of Glendale failed to agree on a lease extension, ending a contentious relationship.

Batman told a Las Vegas pre-All-Star press conference in Las Vegas that Glendale wanted the Coyotes to sign a 20-year lease at Gila River Arena “or leave.”

Batman also said the Coyotes’ revenue streams “may be even better now” in smaller capacity building, where the Coyotes charge higher ticket prices and maintain their current rate-sharing rate at the league level.

Coyotes discovered playing in the old Colosseum on the State Fairgrounds. Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix, home to the NBA’s Suns. And even putting an ice rink at Chase Field, a 48,000-seat park in the Premier Baseball run by the D-backs. They were all non-starters.

“The Suns did not want any of them. They are probably hoping to leave the city. With the right situation in the arena, they will not only be better than good, they will be great. And at the end of the day there should be a temporary accommodation. “To know that a new building is on the way. It obviously cannot be unlimited.”

The ASU Arena Oak View & Gutierrez contract includes a 15,000-square-foot extension to the home and away team locker rooms, training areas, equipment rooms, feeding stations, coaches’ work rooms, team storage and an NHL-quality room in Place yourself. Fitness room, according to public documents.

To meet NHL requirements in the field of hockey, Coyotes is also adding upgrades that “include NHL-quality ice equipment and advanced broadcasting infrastructure, dashboards, media and medical services, and analytics and replay capabilities.”

Liuke said there was easy giving and taking during the talks.

“Coyotes and Javier were fantastic,” he said. He did everything he told us he was going to do. “We had no problems, not one.”

According to Gutierrez, the transfer will also include another $ 20 million for the club to move its offices to Tempe and rent a local training center, among other things. The team is also spending nearly $ 10 million to design, reduce land and process public documents for the proposed Temp project, he said.

However, the ASU arena is not expected to be available for Coyote home games until next December, meaning that coyotes will open on a long road trip, such as an island that will be closed this season due to construction delays. UBS Arena had to do it. .

As the Arena saga unfolds, the ice of the coyotes hits. They enter the final weeks of the season with one of the worst records in the NHL, and spent last year replacing the full talent with pickers. They hope to win a big draw in the Amateur Draft in June.

Coyotes have a history of checkered ownership since moving to Phoenix. They shared the downtown building with the Suns for a while, but failed in their attempt to build in Scottsdale when the city council voted against a contract.

Glendale paid $ 220 million from the general budget ($ 332 million in 2022) to build the Gila River Stadium in the West Valley, which opened in 2003. The center, which is part of a $ 1 billion restaurant and retail project, has never been welcomed by local hockey fans.

For a time, the NHL owned and operated the club, which was pursued by various hedge fund operators who fired the product for resale. Current owner Alex Merlowe, worth $ 2 billion, is the first owner to run the team. SportsThe NHL is valued at $ 410 million, the lowest of the four major North American major leagues.

Merolo, the first NHL owner of Spanish descent, made a fortune in casino, entertainment and media. He bought the team three years ago and brought in Gutierrez a year later.

None of them have a history in sports, let alone the NHL. They made a mistake in trying to fill a deep financial gap, including paying $ 1.4 million in arrears to the government late last year.

Leiweke said the club’s plan to improve through the draft and transfer to Tempe will ultimately steer the franchise in the right direction. “They are trying to create a 10-year vision,” he said. “This is the first time that the owner of that team has done this.”

This vision, of course, is conditional on a new temperament.

Oak View is not currently participating in the project, which is to be built in two phases. The first includes an arena and training center and the second the rest of the retail, residential and entertainment sectors.

It is a 46-hectare plot of land easily accessible from Freeway 202 east of Sky Harbor International Airport and about 10 miles from Phoenix city center.

There are height restrictions and some opposition from airport officials, and the Suns are not thrilled to have a competitive venue for concerts and other events.

Last July, according to public records, the City of Tempe issued an RFP request for any professional, national or national eligible professional sports concession to build a ballroom or stadium on the site.

Locally, the Diamondbacks have been on the market to build a new center or simply redevelop the 24-year-old Chase Field, which has maintenance problems including cable system problems that allow them to open and close the roof. But the package was too small for their needs, said Drake Hall, head of D-backs.

In the end, only the coyotes responded to the RFP. On September 2, they submitted their initial proposal under an entity called Bluebird Development LLP, a local company founded last year to manage the proposed development.

“It’s a wholly owned subsidiary,” Guttierez said. We just created a separate real refund company for this project. This is the legal entity we created through which all the funds, all the debts, all the risk management, all the insurance flows. “It will be only for this project.”

Shortly afterwards, Tempe offered another RFP to a third-party team to help evaluate the process, and on November 19, a $ 78,000 submission by Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners, including to evaluate projects Sports facilities to help, chose. Municipalities

Contacts with Hunden’s office were not returned, but Gutierrez said he understood that the company had completed its assessment.

If the project survives the RFP process, it will have to be evaluated and negotiated by the Temp City Council, which, if resolved, will have to vote on it in public with the views of those in favor and those in favor. No need for a public vote.

Gutierrez said he welcomed the meeting. “We have asked to submit to the council for a public working meeting,” he said. We think we are in the best position not only to offer suggestions, but also to answer questions. “This is a very complex project and we want to be transparent.”

All of this may take months.

The only thing that is certain is that the Coyotes will leave the Gila River Arena on April 29 after 20 seasons, playing Locke, Stoke and Hockey with them.

“We will all be much smarter by the end of the year, because by then everything will be over,” Liuke said.

With the help of Brendan Kafi and Daniel Libit.

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