Coyotes CEO reaffirms commitment to Arizona in letter to fans

Arizona Coyotes' Alex Galchenyuk (17) celebrates with Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) after scoring a goal. (Josie Lepe/AP)

Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen says that if the team is sold, it will only be to an owner committed to keeping the team in Arizona.

In July it was reported that majority owner Andrew Barroway was looking to sell a 49 per cent stake in the team, and in early December Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported “there is a sale brewing.”

In a letter published on the team’s site Tuesday, Cohen didn’t deny a potential sale is being explored, but assured fans that the team wouldn’t be moved if sold.

“Recently, you may have read reports about a potential ownership transaction. As I have said for months, we will continue to explore investment opportunities to better assist our team in achieving our long-term goals and organizational vision,” Cohen wrote. “This process has at its core one key pre-condition: any investment in our team must be laser-focused on helping the Coyotes achieve a long-term sustainable arena solution here in Arizona.

“Every potential investment opportunity we evaluate and every business deal we consider is predicated on making our franchise successful here in Arizona for decades to come.”

The Coyotes have had a revolving door of owners for years, but things appeared to stabilize once Barroway took over in 2014.

But attendance has always been a problem in Arizona, and the team is ranked 27th this season in average attendance with 13,628 people per game. On top of that, with Seattle expansion coming in 2021, the Coyotes will move to the Central Division, which some have pointed out makes the team a prime candidate to relocate to Houston.

On the ice the results haven’t been much better. The team has missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons and currently sits seventh in the Pacific Division with a 17-20-2 record.

While the future of the Coyotes is still murky, one thing that is clear is that Cohen still believes that hockey will thrive in the state, and is hoping future investors believe that too.

“Arizona is our home. We love it here. And we love playing for you, the very best fans in the NHL,” Cohen wrote.

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