In May, a $2.1 billion Tempe proposal, which included a 16,000-seat arena for the Arizona Coyotes, hotels, a shopping district, restaurants, and real estate, was rejected by the city’s voters. Still, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated that the league is still committed to keeping the Coyotes in the Phoenix area and is continuing to look for alternative spots to build a new arena.
“It’s a good market, and if we can make it work, we’ll make it work,” Bettman said during a Stanley Cup Final media availability in Las Vegas.
“The Arizona Coyotes are going to explore what their other options are in the greater Phoenix area and we’re going to monitor that closely,” Bettman added. “Our hope is that one of the options that is being explored and considered will come to fruition.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also revealed that there have been conversations with Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith regarding having a potential NHL franchise in Salt Lake City.
Last month, Bettman said that he was “terribly disappointed by the results of the public referenda regarding the Coyotes’ arena project in Tempe” in a statement.
The Coyotes were attempting to move to Tempe after the franchise lost its home in Glendale — the Desert Diamond Arena — at the conclusion of the 2021-22 NHL season. The team had called that arena home for 18 years. The franchise then relocated to the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena on the campus of Arizona State University, as they have shared the arena with the school’s men’s hockey team.
The Coyotes are scheduled to call Mullett Arena home for the next two seasons with an option for a fourth year. The 2022-23 season marked the first for the Coyotes at Mullett Arena.
The franchise originally began playing in Phoenix after relocating from Winnipeg in 1996.