The Arizona Coyotes announced on Monday that they are in the process of working to build a new 16,000 seat arena in Tempe, Arizona.
The Coyotes and Catellus Development Corp, the master developer for the Arizona State University Athletic Facilities District have begun discussion to build the new home, with an attached 4,000 seat multisport facility. Under the new plan, the Coyotes will play in the main arena, with the attached facility being used as the practice arena, as well as for the ASU Athletic Department, youth hockey and other community events.
National Hockey League Commissioner, Gary Bettman said, “I think first and foremost it will stop all of the speculation of what may or may not happen to the franchise. Secondly, it will, I believe, based on locations I am hearing about, ensure from an attendance standpoint this franchise can thrive and I think it will assure the long-term future of this franchise beyond doubt.”
While still in the early stages of the project, phase two is expected to include a hotel within the area as well.
The Coyotes have played in their current home, Gila River Arena, in Glendale, since December of 2003. The team is expected to reach an agreement with Gila River Arena and the city of Glendale to remain in their present home until the new facility is built.
Gila River Arena is the organization’s second rink, since they first relocated from Winnipeg, twenty years ago. For their first seven years, in the desert, they called America West Arena, now known as Talking Stick Resort Arena, in Phoenix. The new arena will be located about 10 miles east of Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The agreement between the Coyotes and Catellus Development, gives them until June 30 to create a budget, design and operational plan for the project.
Coyotes majority owner, chairman and governor, Andrew Barroway said, “We are thrilled to partner with Catellus on this tremendous project that will include our future new home in the East Valley. The Coyotes are committed to Arizona, and we are extremely excited about our bright future.”
Team President and CEO, Anthony LeBlanc added, “While we have tremendous fans across the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area, not to mention the entire state, it became clear that the East Valley is home to a majority of our fans and corporate partners. Our fans in the West Valley have shown us tremendous support over the last 13 years, and we look forward to working with them as we transition to our new home in the future.”
He continued, “It is probably the most important thing we will do off the ice in our tenure as owner. This is all about ensuring that we have a location that is easily accessible by much of our fan base. I know whenever you make a change like this, you are going to upset some people, and we understand that and it is unfortunate, especially since we have so many great fans in the West Valley. This is a very significant day for the Coyotes; we are just excited to be at this point.”
LeBlanc and ASU had discussed different options for the new facility, but eventually decided it was more feasible to build one arena for both teams. ASU recently moved from a AA program to a Division I about two years ago.
Barroway estimates that the cost of the new arena will be about 400 million dollars.
He said, “We want it to be a state of the art facility. Best in class, and we want something that people are proud of and people want to go to a location that is ideal and centrally situated for a lot of our fans. The stadium will be first rate, the drawings look gorgeous, we look forward to showing you them in the future.”