NHL Teams

Are The Arizona Coyotes Moving? New Arena Location

By Saroj Karki / 11 August 2023 03:23 AM

The Coyotes relishing their goal at T-Mobile Arena on December 22, 2023
Source : instagram

Arizona Coyotes are planning to move from Mullett Arena In Tempe, a home for the Sun Devils hockey team. They are looking to build an arena in Mesa Arizona.

Alex Merulo, the owner and chairman of the Coyotes NHL franchise have executed a letter of intent to buy a parcel of land in Mesa to build the first privately funded sports arena in the history of Arizona.

Originally founded as the Winnipeg Jets on 27th December 1971, the franchise has gone through a massive restructuring over the recent years.

From being absorbed into the NHL following the cease of operations by the World Hockey Association in 1979 to being moved to Phoenix in 1996, there have been several issues of instability and financial woes for the franchise.

Although they operated as Phoenix Coyotes from 1996 - 2014, they were renamed Arizona Coyotes by the new ownership group on 29 Jan 2014.

After Cuban-American billionaire Alex Merulo bought the franchise in 2019, they have been exploring a new permanent home in Arizona state.

Are The Coyotes Leaving Arizona?

No, the Coyotes are not leaving Arizona. Rather, they are desperately looking for a location to build an arena in Arizona and stay in the state.

There have been recent updates about Meruelo putting in a letter of intent to buy 41 acres of land in Mesa to construct the team's new arena. Per the reports from the Phoenix Business Journal, the targeted site is located around Alma School Road and Loop 202.

The club statement released on Wednesday morning also thanked communities, elected officials, and leaders for supporting and expressing their urge to see the Coyotes remain in the Valley permanently.

The franchise had earlier undergone a failed attempt of building a new arena in Tempe. The local voters had rejected the arena and entertainment district project proposal of $2.1 billion via a special election.

As the unofficial election results stated over 56% of people voted against the proposal, and the Coyotes' plan went all in vain. Garry Bettman, the NHL commissioner was also utterly disappointed with the result.

Arizona Coyotes Relocation Rumors

Apart from the recent Arizona Coyotes mesa arena saga, the NHL franchise is also exploring other possible sites in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

The continuous determination to stay within the Valley has come up as a major boost to the local hockey fanatics hoping to see the professional hockey team remain in Arizona.

The Coyotes are blessed with a strong fan base in Arizona state
Source : instagram

Mesa has been seen as an extremely preferred location as Merulo strives to completely prepare the arena ahead of the 2026-27 NHL season.

However, the official approval and confirmation are yet to come and nothing can be said with complete conviction at the moment. The Coyotes will only be hoping that similar instances like that of Tempe do not arise.

Earlier, there have been rumors of the franchise relocation to other cities. The likes of Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston, Portland, and Milwaukee among many others were seen as the alternatives. 

The uncertainty around the arena and all the chaos going around has more or less affected the performance of the team in the league as well.

They were eliminated from the playoff contention last season with a mediocre regular season record of 28-40-14. Arizona finished in the 7th position in the Central Division of the Western Conference with a total of 70 points.

Arizona Coyotes New Arena and Relocation

Arizona Coyotes will continue to play at the Mullet Arena in the 2023-24 NHL season as well. They have a lease to play there for three years.

While the search for an appropriate location to build the entire sports arena continues, the Coyotes will continue to use the university ice rink.

As Glendale elected not to renew the deal with the Coyotes organization, they were forced to look for a new arena ahead of the last season. 

The Coyotes played 19 seasons at the city of Glendale's Gila River Arena from 2003 to 2022. It has now been renamed Desert Diamond Arena.

Prior to Gila River, they played at the America West Arena in downtown Phoenix from 1996 to 2003. The arena is now named Footprint Center.

Seating chart and overall map of the Mullet Arena
Source : mullettarena

Following the need for an ice hockey rink, the Coyotes' management entered into an agreement with the University of Arizona to play their home matches at the Mullet Arena till the 2024-25 season. Furthermore, they also have a mutual option for the 2025-26 season.

Mullett Arena capacity is 4600 for the NHL games and 5000 for the NCAA games of the Sun Devils. It was named in honor of Arizona Univerity's benefactors Donald and Barbara Mullett. The arena is operated by the Oak View Group.

Since the National Hockey League enforces a strict no-bag policy, backpacks, duffle bags, and other large purses are not allowed at the arena.

Arizona Coyotes Ownership Breakdown

Billionaire Alex Meruelo owns the majority stake in the Arizona Coyotes with 95% shares, while Andrew Barroway remains the minority owner.

Barroway sold the controlling interest in the Coyotes to Alex Meruelo on July 29, 2019. The franchise has seen some sort of stability since then.

The 59-year-old businessman is also the chairman and governor of the Coyotes. Since Barroway was indefinitely banned from the league, Alex has the sole official ownership of the organization.

Meruelo became the first Latino owner of an NHL team in 2019
Source : twitter

Apart from ice hockey, he also holds business interests in several other fields. Some of the major ownerships of Meruelo are listed below.

  • Meruelo Group
  • KWHY-TV and KBEH
  • KLOS, KPWR, KLLI, KDAY and KDEY-FM
  • Sahara Las Vegas
  • Grand Sierra Resort
  • Fuji Food
  • Colom Island

Arizona Coyotes Ownership History

Peter and Walter Bushnell founded the Coyotes as an expansion franchise in 1972. There have been several changes in ownership since then.

All the past owners of the franchise since their entry into the National Hockey League are:

OwnerTenure
Alex Merulo2019 - Present
Andrew Barroway2015 - 2019
George Gosbee2014 - 2017
NHL2010 - 2013
Jerry Moyes2006 - 2009
Steve Ellman2000 - 2005
Wayne Gretzky2000 - 2005
Steven Gluckstern1996
Howard Millstein1996 - 1999
Richard Burke1996 - 1999
Barry Shenkarow1981 - 1995
Ben Hatskin1980

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