Glendale City short shrift to ‘the Yotes’


Arizona Coyotes will have to leave Gila River Arena Image: Gila River Arena

The 2021-2022 seasons will be the National Hockey League (NHL) team Arizona Coyotes’ (US) last at Gila River Arena following the City of Glendale (Arizona) informing the team that it will opt out of its joint lease agreement.

‘The Athletic’ stated that the present lease operates on a year-to-year basis and can be terminated by either party with written notice on or before December 31st. The Coyotes will need to vacate the arena by June 30th, 2022. Arizona must also relinquish the administrative space it uses in the facility.

The Arizona Coyotes are a professional ice hockey team based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Coyotes compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference.

The 18,300-capacity Gila River Arena, home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes through 2021-2022, is a multipurpose entertainment arena located at Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue (US). The arena anchors the 223-acre, $1 billion development Westgate Entertainment District.

The Westgate Entertainment District, formerly known as ‘Westgate City Center’, is a mixed-use development in Glendale, Arizona (US). Westgate is described as a super-regional destination for shopping, dining, entertainment, and commercial offices.

‘The Athletic’ further stated that the termination notice comes after several months of stalled negotiations between the two sides on the terms of an extension, as well as multiple notices about outstanding balances the Coyotes owed as part of the lease agreement, public records reveal.

The City Manager, Kevin Phelps, stated, “We’ve reached that point of no return. There’s no wavering.”

Coyotes President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez released a statement saying the team is “disappointed” by the City’s decision – “We are hopeful that they will reconsider a move that would primarily damage the small businesses and hard-working citizens of Glendale. We remain open to restarting good-faith negotiations with the City. Most importantly, the Coyotes are 100 percent committed to finding a long-term arena solution here in Arizona.”

Widespread problems are plaguing the ranks of Arizona Coyotes under their new owner Alex Meruelo, including a “toxic” workplace environment and a wide array of financial issues, among other concerns.

Meruelo was also eying another City, Tempe in Arizona, with hopes of relocating the team to a parcel of City-owned land that “currently houses the City’s public works and compost yard”.

‘the Yotes’ first played at the 18,422-capacity America West Arena in downtown Phoenix (Arizona), before moving to Glendale (Arizona) in 2003.

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