Glendale, Arizona will terminate the Arizona Coyotes’ lease at Glendale River Arena, meaning that the team will have to find a new arena to host home games after the 2021-22 season.
”With an increased focus on larger, more impactful events and uses of the city-owned arena, the city of Glendale has chosen to not renew the operating agreement for the Arizona Coyotes beyond the coming 2021-22 season,” a statement from the city reads.
According to a statement, the Coyotes and the city of Glendale have been operating on a year-by-year lease agreement “for several years” with an annual December 31 deadline for either party to choose to opt out of the pact.
Gila River Arena has been the Coyotes’ home to since it opened in December 2003.
“We are thankful to the NHL and the Arizona Coyotes for being part of the Glendale community for the past 18 years,” Glendale City manager Kevin Phelps said in a statement. “The decision not to renew the operating agreement with the Coyotes was not made overnight or in a vacuum. We carefully weighed input from key stakeholders, our expert economist, our arena management firm and our city council.”
Katie Strang of The Athletic says the decision comes after “stalled negotiations” between the city and team over a lease extension and potential renovations to the Gila River Arena. However, “multiple notices” of unpaid bills by the Coyotes to the city of Glendale also played a role in getting to this spot.
The Coyotes released their own official response later in the day on Thursday.
Public records gathered by Strang show that Phelps informed the arena’s management company, ASM Global, that the Coyotes owed $1,462,792 to the arena as of July 17.
“We’ve reached that point of no return,” Phelps said in an interview with The Athletic. “There’s no wavering.”
Strang added that the Coyotes will have to vacate the facility, which also houses the organization’s management offices, by June 30.
There has been talk about the Coyotes relocating for the past few years, so this news could spark more talk about those rumors. Quebec City applied for an expansion franchise in 2015 (which was denied) and has the Vidéotron Centre which opened in 2015 and has hosted NHL preseason games in the past.
By Harrison Brown