Glendale not renewing Coyotes' arena lease, leaving future in Arizona in doubt

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — The City of Glendale says it is not renewing its operating agreement with the Arizona Coyotes beyond the upcoming NHL season, leaving the team's future in the state in doubt.

The city says it has informed the Coyotes that this season will be the last at the city-owned Gila River Arena. The city and the NHL team have been operating on a year-to-year arrangement since 2016.

In a release on social media, the city said it wants to focus on "larger, more impactful events and uses" for the arena.

The Coyotes have struggled to find footing in Arizona since the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996.

An attempt to move the team to Hamilton in 2009, with Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie poised to purchase the team out of bankruptcy, was blocked by the NHL and resulted in the league taking control of the franchise.

The league was unable to find an owner for the team until 2013. Billionaire Alex Meruelo is the club's current majority owner after a succession of ownership situations.

Gila River Arena has been the home of the Coyotes since its opening in 2003. The club previously shared the America West Arena (now Footprint Center) with the NBA's Phoenix Suns.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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