Arizona Is Once Again An NHL Problem Spot

Glendale wants a divorce.

It is crisis time in Arizona again for the National Hockey League and its Commissioner Gary Bettman. The league which has literally moved mountains to keep a franchise in the Phoenix market has a brand-new problem. The Glendale, Arizona city council has decided to throw out the NHL playing in its building, an arena specifically built for the hockey team two decades ago after the league found out a Phoenix building was unsuitable for hockey and Scottsdale decided not to build an arena for the business. The Glendale politicians will evict the business after the 2021-2022 season. There are not many good choices for the team in the Phoenix market. There is the rebuilt arena that probably still is not suitable for hockey and the soon-to-be 56-year-old Coliseum. What complicates matters here is that the Arizona Coyotes ownership group is submitting a bid to develop a plot of land in Tempe and the city has written a request for proposals that envisions the land hosting a sports arena or stadium. It seems Tempe wrote the RFP with the local NHL team ownership in mind. The proposals are due on September 2nd.

There doesn’t seem to be too many places that can take a franchise. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets ownership group expressed some interest in going after an NHL team. The NHL doesn’t seem to be too interested in Quebec City. The league rejected a 2015 bid from Quebec City backers for an expansion team because of a weak corporate market and that has not changed. Kansas City and Hartford do nothing for NHL owners. The NHL passed over Hamilton, Ontario in the expansion process and blocked a bid to move the Glendale based Coyotes to Hamilton. The arena game is playing out and Tempe wants to get into the game.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191  

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta, left, makes a save on a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)