Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, has reaffirmed the league’s commitment to keeping the Arizona Coyotes in the Phoenix area, despite facing certain challenges. The recent rejection by the city’s voters of a $2.1 billion proposal in Tempe, which included plans for a new 16,000-seat arena for the Coyotes, hotels, a shopping district, restaurants, and real estate, has not deterred Bettman from his goal.
During a media availability at the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas, Bettman expressed optimism about the Phoenix market and emphasized the league’s determination to find alternative locations for a new arena. He stated, “If we can make it work, we’ll make it work.”
Bettman also mentioned that the Coyotes themselves are exploring other options within the greater Phoenix area, and the NHL will closely monitor these developments. The league hopes that one of the explored and considered options will come to fruition, ensuring the team’s future in the region.
Additionally, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly disclosed that discussions have taken place with Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz, regarding the possibility of establishing an NHL franchise in Salt Lake City.
Last month, Bettman expressed his disappointment in the outcome of the public referenda on the Coyotes’ arena project in Tempe. The team had sought to move to Tempe after losing its previous home in Glendale, the Desert Diamond Arena, at the end of the 2021-22 NHL season. For the interim period, the Coyotes have been sharing the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena on the Arizona State University campus with the school’s men’s hockey team. They are scheduled to play at Mullett Arena for the next two seasons, with an option for a fourth year.
The Coyotes’ history traces back to their relocation from Winnipeg to Phoenix in 1996.