Coyotes temporary new home will be ASU arena

The Arizona Coyotes are heading back to school.

Following nearly two decades of a tempestuous relationship with the city of Glendale, Ariz., the Coyotes announced Thursday they will move to a multipurpose venue at Arizona State University for at least three seasons, starting in the fall.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved a plan to add NHL-quality facilities to a new ASU arena in Tempe, which seats only 5,000 spectators. Adding the NHL-quality upgrades reportedly will require removing as many as 1,500 seats from the arena, originally designed for the Arizona State hockey team.

The Coyotes announced they will play their home games for the next three seasons in the building and hold an option for the 2025-26 season.

Coyotes forced out of Gila River Arena

Arizona Coyotes relocation
Oct 14, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; The Arizona Coyotes logo is reflected on the ice prior to the game against the Boston Bruins at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In August 2021, Glendale informed the Coyotes that it was ending its longstanding year-to-year lease at Gila River Arena effective June 30, following years of stalled negotiations and charges that the team was behind on its payments. The team paid the state $1.4 million in lapsed taxes in December.

“We are thrilled that we have arranged to play our home games in Arizona State University’s new multi-purpose arena starting next season,” said Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez. “This will be an incredible, intimate and exciting fan experience in a state-of-the-art new arena in a fantastic location in the heart of Tempe.”

The team continues to work with the city of Tempe toward building a reported $1.7-billion arena and entertainment center that would include a 16,000-seat arena not far from the ASU campus.

Temporary home

As suggested by the 3-4 years contracted with ASU, the larger new development remains far from reality, and until the Coyotes are able to secure a new arena, they remain in the speculation mill for franchise relocation.

In December, Gutierrez insisted that rumors of a possible move or sale to a Houston group are “completely and utterly false,” and that he is committed to keeping the team in the Phoenix area.

Last week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman endorsed the plan to move to ASU, presuming a deal can be arranged for a full-sized arena. Bettman said in December the league was intent on keeping the team in the Phoenix area.

“If there has to be a temporary accommodation – knowing that a new building is coming, this obviously can’t be indefinite – I think they can create a terrific experience for people in a more intimate setting,” Bettman said. “It wouldn’t be the first time that we were in a small, temporary facility pending the construction of a new arena.”

–Field Level Media