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IN FOCUS - Mar 22, 2024

Feeling déjà vu?

It’s no wonder, as the Arizona Coyotes this week released yet another series of renderings for a new arena, and the NHL regurgitated a well-worn talking point: “We believe Arizona is a good NHL market.

The comments from NHL brass came as the Coyotes ready a bid for a 95-acre parcel of State Trust Land in north Phoenix, near Desert Ridge Marketplace. The auction will likely be sometime in late spring or early summer.

A wait-and-see approach is warranted. Consider: Since coming to Phoenix in 1996, the Coyotes spent about 8 seasons unhappily sharing a downtown arena with the Phoenix Suns … tried and failed to find a new home in south Scottsdale … relocated to Glendale and a new arena … soured on the West Valley and began actively searching for a new home on the east side … temporarily moved into a college hockey arena at ASU while pursuing construction of a new complex in Tempe … and abandoned Tempe after voters overwhelmingly rejected a development plan last year.

Now, the Coyotes believe they’ve found an ideal parcel. It’s an undeveloped blank slate (the Tempe property required millions of dollars in remediation), and sits near the corner of the Loop 101 and 64th Street - in closer proximity to East Valley fans who comprise much of the Coyotes’ season ticket holders. The property also is already zoned for commercial mixed-use, meaning the team should be able to avoid the messy referenda that melted its Tempe relocation plans.

Smooth skating? Not so fast. Development fights get nasty in that neck of the woods. And nothing with the Arizona Coyotes has ever been easy.


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