Report: City of Glendale will not renew Coyotes lease; Gary Bettman does not see team leaving Arizona

Coyotes getting kicked out of Gila Arena.

coyotes home arena
Gila River Arena in Glendale. Gila River Arena

According to the City of Glendale manager, Kevin Phelps the Arizona Coyotes will need to find a new home after the 2021-22 season. They have opted to not renew their lease for the publicly owned Gila River Arena.

The two parties operate on a year by year agreement and the city of Glendale informed the club Thursday of their plans. The Coyotes have to vacate the arena by June 30, 2022.

Arizona Coyotes need a new home

“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,” the city said in a statement.

The city and the team had been operating under a year-to-year agreement for several years. Either party could opt out by providing written notice each year on or before Dec. 31.

arizona coyotes
Apr 17, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) attempts a wraparound against Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller (9) and Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) during the first period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

“The decision to not renew was not made overnight or in a vacuum,” Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps said.

The move comes after months of stalled negotiations between the city and the club on terms of an extension, agreement on renovations and delinquent payments by the Coyotes.

Per a report by Katie Strang in The Athletic, Mr Phelps said they had reached a “point of no return.” Public records show that the Coyotes were well behind on payments owed.

“Last year, due to the pandemic, we agreed to forgo a significant amount of the money owed to the arena. In doing so, the Coyotes agreed they would keep current with all future financial obligations under their lease agreement,” Phelps stated in the letter. “That has not occurred.”

The Athletic

Bettman still sees future in Arizona

In March, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that Glendale is “not economically capable of supporting an NHL franchise.” In a letter to the Arizona legislature, Bettman said the Coyotes “cannot and will not remain in Glendale.”

Bettman was writing in support of public-private funding for a new arena in Phoenix or the East Valley.

The Coyotes began playing in Glendale during the 2003-04 season which is also home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

Today, Mr. Bettman was on WFAN in NY and reiterated his feelings that the Coyotes were going to stay in the Greater Phoenix area.

This story is still developing with more news expected in the coming days.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report.