The Facts About the Arizona Coyotes Playing at ASU Arena, And The Real Reason Why They Are Not Moving

Published August 7, 2022 at 7:24 PM

There have been numerous derogatory comments and articles about the Arizona Coyotes arena situation this next season. While most of the comments lack factual content, it is their right to state them.

Many hockey fans make negative statements about the fate of the Coyotes. This writer has followed them since 1996 when they first arrived. It hasn't always been an enjoyable experience, but to have NHL hockey in the Phoenix area has many positive results.

For one thing, since the team has been here they have increased the popularity of hockey amongst the youth who live here. Example: Auston Matthews who grew up here and fell in love with hockey from the first Coyotes game he witnessed.

Phoenix is the fifth largest city by population in the United States. They have about 1.64 million residents and that doesn't count the surrounding suburbs, which brings it to about 4.65 million living in the Valley of the Sun.

While the NHL franchise here has tread through some tough times, they are still here for lots of reasons. Try the TV market for one. The other thing is as a major populous city, they have all four major sports with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, and Arizona Cardinals all calling this home.

Many naysayers complain that hockey doesn't belong in the desert. They said the same thing about the other warm weather NHL cities like Tampa Bay (home of the Lightning) and Sunrise, Florida (the home of the Panthers).

Perhaps the negative commenters are all Canadian team followers, which is fine. We all should love and follow our teams, win or lose. Yet some feel more fulfilled to say such things as "other than NHL Commissioner Bettman and a small group of fans, I don't think anyone else wants or understands why the Arizona Coyotes are still in the NHL."

It's statements like this that fuel dissent and have no basis of facts.

Let's explain. The reason the Coyotes are playing at the Arizona State University arena the next several seasons is as follows:

1) While it is true their lease to play at Gila River arena did expire and the city of Glendale refused to renew the yearly lease, it was complicated. The city had their reasons, and the team thought the issues could be resolved. But, once Glendale found out that the team was planning on building a brand new arena in Tempe, negotiations ceased.

The Glendale city council was upset by late payments, and that was resolved even though they were not paying bills on time. It was resolved. The real issue with Glendale was they didn't want any competition for events. The Suns arena was already getting most of the concerts.

2) With no viable options (and there were a few), the team had already had a good relationship with ASU when they almost went in together to build a joint use arena back in 2016. ASU backed out of the joint venture.

That left the Coyotes either relocating or talking to ASU who was building a new arena for their growing hockey team and other ASU events. They struck a deal and there is a good reason ASU agreed. They need a new arena for their basketball team since the current structure is very old. A new facility would cost too much, so they are working with the Coyotes to play their basketball games at the new Tempe arena once it's built.

Call it a win-win situation. Both parties get something they need.

3) The very integral reason the Coyotes want to move to the east valley is that the majority of their fanbase lives near the Tempe area. Glendale was a tedious commute and many fans hated it.

It's true that the Gila River arena location was not the best decision. So, playing for several years at the ASU arena will allow east valley fans to follow the team more and increase season ticket sales once they move into their new home.

The reasons the Arizona Coyotes are NOT MOVING:

The main reason is that Bettman knows it's a good market and even though he may not be comfortable with the team playing in a small venue, as long as it's a temporary situation, he is good with it.

The fact that the team has not won a Stanley Cup should not bring about those wishing they would move elsewhere. Look at the Florida Panthers. They struggled to get fans to the arena in Sunrise, Florida, but look at them now. They are 24th in attendance, but have been much lower than that over the past five years.

Sure, winning helps. And what many NHL followers don't know is that the Coyotes are working on that. They just had a terrific draft and their general manager, Bill Armstrong is working through a tough rebuild. Adding players like Logan Cooley and Conor Geekie will fortify the team going forward.

He knows what he is doing. Just look at the Colorado Avalanche back in 2016-17 when they had just 48 points. Now, they are Stanley Cup champs. It takes time and give the Coyotes a few more years and they will be competitive.

For once and for all... the Coyotes aren't moving! They are here for the long run, so all you naysayers can just move on... nothing to see here!
August 7   |   149 answers
The Facts About the Arizona Coyotes Playing at ASU Arena, And The Real Reason Why They Are Not Moving

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