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Tucson City Council approves AHL lease of Tucson Convention Center

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AHL hockey in Tucson is a reality.

Sergio Mendez

The last political hurdle to bring AHL hockey to Tucson has been cleared.

Tonight the Tucson City Council voted 7-0 to approve a lease agreement between IceArizona and Rio Neuvo for use of the Tucson Convention Center by the Arizona Coyotes' future AHL affiliate.

While lengthy, the meeting was never especially contentious, a far cry from many of the city council meetings Coyotes fans sat through in Glendale. Even some of the concerns raised by Tucson Councilmember Steve Kozachik about the short time frame in which the deal was negotiated were not enough to prevent him from voting for its passage.

Some of the salient points of the agreement include:

  • $3.2 million in facilities upgrades to be paid by the City of Tucson,
  • 10 year term, with a five year out-clause for IceArizona if average attendance is below 2,500 per game,
  • Should the team relocate, IceArizona will have to repay the City of Tucson for a portion of the facilities upgrades,
  • $300,000 license agreement paid by IceArizona to the City of Tucson,
  • 50/50 split between IceArizona and the City on concessions, parking, advertising, and arena-naming revenues
  • At least 29 home dates played in Tucson, with as many as five home games played elsewhere

With a few games expected to be played outside of Tucson, IceArizona will have the opportunity to bring the AHL team up to Phoenix, or perhaps even a game or two in the former home of the CHL's Arizona Sundogs in Prescott Valley.

Regardless, minor league hockey is coming to Tucson. And it's coming very soon.