The Arizona Coyotes‘ lease agreement with the city of Glendale will keep the team playing its home games out of Gila River Arena until the conclusion of next season, but it appears the team will find itself a new home for 2017 and beyond.
Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc effectively extinguished any plans to keep the team in Glendale in a scathing letter to city manager Ken Phelps, citing a June, 2015 city council vote that voided its lease with the team as the reason the franchise will look to park itself elsewhere in the not-so distant future.
“Simply put, the Arizona Coyotes have every intention of leaving Glendale as soon as practicable,” LeBlanc wrote in the letter. “By unilaterally breaking a 15-year signed management agreement with the team — a contract the Coyotes would have honoured for the length of its term — the Council effectively evicted us from our home.”
A new lease agreement was reached in July of 2015 after the Coyotes pulled back on threats of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit ahead of last summer’s free agency season.
LeBlanc took aim at Glendale City council for undermining record revenues and a rise in attendance by breaking its lease with the team, creating “turbulence” for his business.
“For our business to continue to rely on the whims of a majority of seven elected council members would be irresponsible of me to the point of risking financial ruin and the alienation of our most important assets — Arizona Coyotes fans and our sponsors,” LeBlanc wrote.
Phoenix is the obvious destination for the Coyotes, who are being wooed by Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton to relocate to downtown and move into a prospective new building along with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
It’s been an eventful start to the off-season for the Coyotes, who introduced new general manager John Chayka and a restructured front office last week. It wouldn’t be a summer without some behind the scenes drama in the desert.