Coyotes CEO Claims The NHL Business Is Close To Getting Land For An Arena

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Troy Stecher (51) and Coyotes center Alexander Kerfoot (15) celebrate a goal by Coyotes' Michael Carcone against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The team and the NHL are trying to avoid an arena referendum.

The President and CEO of the National Hockey League’s Arizona franchise Xavier Gutierrez claims that the hockey business is close to announcing where the business wants to build a new arena in the Phoenix market. Gutierrez told Arizona Sports that the hockey business personnel have looked at a number of locations and the organization has a good sense which direction they are going. In May 2023, the hockey business had hoped to get an area of land in Tempe, but local voters said no to building an arena that probably would have needed Tempe residents paying some subsidies or taxes to help build an arena-village. Sports owners and sports leagues don’t want to put a question of funding an arena before voters because the referendum usually loses although Oklahoma City voters in December overwhelmingly approved giving the billionaire owners of the National Basketball Association’s Oklahoma City Thunder at least $900 million in funding a new venue.

Gutierrez admitted that the National Hockey League wants no part of an arena referendum in the Phoenix market again. “It comes from the requirements that were imposed on us by the NHL that we find a location and pursue a path that would not subject us to a public referendum vote, and really that has squared in finding a piece of land that is zoned for an arena so we can still move forward. We still envision this to be a landmark project, privately funded, we’re gonna buy the land and build the buildings and maintain them ourselves like we’ve said all along.” Guiterrez said that the hockey business has made a commitment to the NHL to get an arena plan in place by the end of the season which means anywhere between April and June. An area near the Phoenix-Scottsdale border is allegedly being considered.

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