The Arizona Coyotes have long been trying to find a new home arena for their team. They currently play in Mullett Arena, the home rink for the Arizona State Sun Devils hockey team that seats around 5,000 fans, but the plan was for them to play there temporarily so they could build a brand new arena in Tempe as part of a $2.1 billion entertainment district development plan.
All that needed to happen was for Tempe residents to vote “Yes” on all three propositions (301, 302, and 303) in a special election on May 16. But on Tuesday, voters rejected all three propositions resoundingly.
This was the Coyotes’ best chance of staying in Arizona. Now, the Coyotes and NHL are going to try and figure out if any chances of staying in Arizona remain. If not, relocation could very well be on the table.
Chiefs quarterback and two-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes took to Twitter to let his followers know that the “Kansas City Coyotes has a nice ring to it.”
Patrick Mahomes floats idea of the NHL’s Coyotes franchise moving to Kansas City
Kansas City has the NFL’s Chiefs, MLB’s Royals, MLS’ Sporting Kansas City, and the NWSL’s Current. Could an NHL team be in the cards?
Well, the NHL has essentially told everyone to pump the brakes on any talk of relocation. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN that the plan is for the Coyotes to play at Mullet Arena next season. Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez reiterated that plan, releasing a statement, writing that even though they lost out on an arena in Tempe, they are still committed to staying in Arizona.
“While we are very disappointed Tempe voters did not approve the proposed Entertainment District, we want to thank all our loyal fans who supported the Coyotes over the years. Your loyalty is what makes our Pack strong,” wrote Gutierrez, h/t NHL.com. “During the 2023-24 season, the Arizona Coyotes will play at Mullett Arena. In addition, we remain committed to Arizona and have already started re-engaging with local officials and sites to solidify a new permanent home in the Valley.
“We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement of his own after the election results were confirmed, saying that the league was “terribly disappointed” and that the league would speak with the team about upcoming plans in the coming weeks.
The Coyotes social media team sent out a poll on Twitter asking fans which town in Arizona they should consider building a home arena. The four options were Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert.
The Coyotes appear to be exercising all of their options to stay in Arizona. It will remain to be seen if that is an attainable and feasible option. But for now, the Coyotes will be playing at Arizona State for the second year in a row.