City of Glendale ends lease with Coyotes

Published on 09/06/2021
By Staff
Gila River Arena
Gila River Arena
Patrick Breen/The Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Arizona Coyotes will need to find a new home after the 2021-22 season.

The city of Glendale informed the club Thursday that it will not renew the operating agreement for Gila River Arena following this season. The Coyotes have to vacate the arena by June 30, 2022.

"We are disappointed by today's unilateral decision by the City of Glendale to break off negotiations on a multi-year lease extension agreement," Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in a statement. "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 one hundred percent committed to finding a long-term arena solution here in Arizona, and nothing will shake our determination to do what is right for our organization, residents of the entire Valley and, most important, our fans."

Hours earlier, the city released its own announcement.

"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.

"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.

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.

Glendale is also home to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

--Field Level Media

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