If you’ve followed the Arizona Coyotes off-ice for any period of time, there’s really no news that is considered surprising anymore. So lo and behold in a classic Friday night news dump the Arizona Republic reports that Arizona State University has withdrawn from a proposed arena site in Tempe. The fact was confirmed in a statement from Coyotes’ ownership:
Statement from Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc RE: ASU pulling out of the Tempe arena deal. pic.twitter.com/Lat7GKKEmg— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) February 4, 2017
The announcement from Arizona State comes on the heels of reported opposition at the State Capitol to a potential move from Glendale to Tempe, though it is unclear if the two events are related.
Arizona Rep. Kern and others will hold news conference Monday "to oppose legislation enabling the Phoenix Coyotes' relocation to Tempe."— YvonneWingettSanchez (@yvonnewingett) February 3, 2017
So, what comes next?
Obviously Glendale remains an option so long as they are essentially the only available building in town. Any negotiation with the City and their arena manager will inevitably be made from a position of weakness however, due to the lack of alternatives and the sunk costs already invested in the Valley.
One other intriguing option came up shortly before the Coyotes announced the potential partnership with Arizona State last June. Reportedly, a group near Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale attempted to pitch a privately funded arena project to the Coyotes. The reception even then from the Coyotes was chilly, as Scottsdale doesn’t quite solve the central location problem Arizona was hoping to fix with a location in Downtown Phoenix or Tempe. Perhaps that possibly becomes the best of several unappealing options, though like in Glendale, the Scottsdale Pavilions group would have quite a bit of leverage in hammering out any agreement, assuming the possibility even still exists.
Yet there may not be many more options out there that involve a future in Arizona for the Coyotes. Looks like it will be yet another offseason full of unanswered questions off the ice for Coyotes fans.