Glendale opts out of Gila River Arena agreement, leaving Coyotes’ future in doubt

The Arizona Coyotes will not play at the Gila River Arena after the 2021-22 season, with the city of Glendale opting out of its joint lease agreement.

The future of the Arizona Coyotes is very much up in the air right now.

The city of Glendale is opting out of the joint lease agreement with the Gila River Arena, where the Coyotes play, forcing the team to vacate their home after the 2021-22 season.

The team responded with a statement:

“We are disappointed by today’s unilateral decision by the City of Glendale to break off negotiations on a multi-year lease extension agreement. We are hopeful that they will reconsider a move that would primarily damage the small businesses and hard-working citizens of Glendale. We remain open to restarting good-faith negotiations with the City.

“Most importantly, the Coyotes are one hundred percent committed to finding a long-term arena solution here in Arizona, and nothing will shake our determination to do what is right for our organization, residents of the entire Valley, and, most important, our fans.”

The Coyotes need to find a new arena after the 2021-22 season

This shouldn’t be seen as a great surprise. According to Katie Strang of The Athletic, negotiations between the city and the team on a new lease agreement had stalled while the Coyotes owe debts of more than $1.4 million related to their lease agreement.

Naturally, there’s now tons of speculation about where the Coyotes could go next.

The franchise says they want to stay in Arizona. The NHL also maintains that stance. A move could be relatively short somewhere else in the greater Phoenix area. The prospect of Tempe looms large.

Other cities will certainly sniff around with the Coyotes potentially up for grabs if they can’t make it work locally. This will remain a story to keep an eye on.