Coyotes' future uncertain after Tempe voters reject deal for new arena

"We are going to review with the Coyotes what the options might be going forward."

The Coyotes' days in Arizona seem to be numbered after the City of Tempe voted against development plans for a new arena. (Getty Images)

The Tempe arena dream is officially dead for the Arizona Coyotes.

Residents of the suburb just outside of Phoenix voted "no" to all three of propositions 301, 302, and 303 on Tuesday evening, almost certainly spelling the end of any dreams the team had to build an arena in the city.

Even more substantial, the Coyotes and their fans face a grim reality that is becoming more obvious by the minute: the team’s days in The Grand Canyon state appear numbered, perhaps more so than ever before.

Reports had been persistent that the club was in scramble mode ahead of the vote, with team execs amongst those canvassing door-to-door in search of support for the arena deal. Despite those efforts, the votes did not follow by a wide margin, with none of the propositions garnering more than 44% of the vote.

Following the news, Coyotes President & CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez spoke about the failed vote, reportedly appearing visibly shaken.

"We are very disappointed that Tempe voters did not approve propositions 301, 302 & 303,” Gutierrez said. “As Tempe Mayor Corey Woods [said], this was the best arena deal in the history of Arizona."

Gutierrez added that the next steps for the organization were now set to be evaluated by the team and NHL alike.

The NHL also released a statement, expressing its disappointment in the results of the referendum.

"The National Hockey League is terribly disappointed by the results of the public referenda regarding the Coyotes' arena project in Tempe," the statement read. "We are going to review with the Coyotes what the options might be going forward."

Should this mark the beginning of the end, it will close a chapter on undoubtedly the most tumultuous franchise in modern NHL history.

Part of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s efforts to expand the game in the south, the Coyotes have been in and out of trouble for much of their existence. Most famously, the team was almost moved to Hamilton, Ont., in 2009 after they went bankrupt and were nearly purchased by BlackBerry billionaire Jim Ballsille.

Since then, the club has been in and out of financial trouble, with the club most recently being evicted from their Glendale home at the end of the 2021-22 season and being moved to the much cozier Mullett Arena, complete with its bizarre lighting and minuscule 5,000 seat capacity.

The team had initially planned to remain there for three years until the proposed Tempe arena was built. However, that stay seems likely to be truncated with little future prospects remaining within the state.