Coyotes to Glendale: If we can’t run arena, we’ll take our puck and go … somewhere

Arizona Coyotes owner Anthony LeBlanc had already made pretty clear that he doesn’t want to keep the team in its current arena in Glendale without its prior sweetheart management deal, but he hammered in home yesterday by sending an open letter to city manager Kevin Phelps declaring that they’re outtie as soon as they can figure out a place to be outtie to:

Simply put, the Arizona Coyotes have every intention of leaving Glendale as soon as practicable. … By unilaterally breaking a 15-year signed management agreement with the team — a contract the Coyotes would have honored for the length of its term — the Council effectively evicted us from our home. While you claim that the Council has had a change of heart, we have not. As a business responsible for hundreds of employees, and a team, that relies on the support of hundreds of thousands of fans statewide, we simply cannot afford to do business with partners who do not keep their word, or honor their contracts.

Boom! Burn those bridges, Anthony! Except, of course, that the Coyotes don’t actually have another place to go to, so unless they’re going to relocate to the Suns‘ old arena or move in with their friend Oscar, they have to stay in Glendale for the time being, hence that “as soon as practicable” line in LeBlanc’s letter.

Local news coverage had this as LeBlanc declaring that he wouldn’t engage in lease talks with AEG, the arena management giant that recently won the rights to operate the Glendale arena, but realistically he’s going to have to talk to them at some point, since right now the team doesn’t have anywhere to play starting in September 2017, and nobody’s going to build them a new arena by then. LeBlanc keeps saying that he’s going to have an arena announcement real soon now, and maybe that will include a new temporary home, for all we know. If not, he’s painting himself into a potentially ugly corner, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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24 comments on “Coyotes to Glendale: If we can’t run arena, we’ll take our puck and go … somewhere

  1. “…that relies on the support of hundreds of thousands of fans statewide,”

    If that were the case, they would be cocooned against the chill of the ice in money.

  2. Back in 1994, the Dallas Mavericks wanted a new stadium, they were fed up with Reunion Arena. They huffed and puffed and got all threaty about moving to another city (Birmingham AL was one city that kept being used in conversations). Eventually, the city of Lewisville agreed to part fund an arena, but in order to do so they needed an increase in the city Sales tax, which required a voter referendum.
    At the time the Mavs were something of a joke in basketball, having made a habit of drafting badly (players like Roy Tarpley who preferred inhalation of substances to hard work) and having mediocre leadership. Plus the ownership included H Ross Perot Jr. whose PR skills were negative.
    Despite all the huffing and puffing about leaving, Lewisville voted down the sales tax increase. The Mavs did not move to Birmingham or anywhere else, and later were bought by Mark Cuban.
    Let the Coyotes huf and puff. To use my dad’s old expression, they are all mouth and no trousers.

  3. Well if he’s backed into a corner with no place to go. He sign a series of one year leases through indefinitely until he does like the Raiders seem to do. Or just sell to an out of town buyer and be done with it. There’s potentially 2 offers out there for half a billion and one destination is a place where the Raiders coincidentally are looking. They’re two peas in a pod.

  4. That’s rich… the owner of a club that did not meet it’s financial obligations to the city (and, in fact, declared bankruptcy to evade them) is complaining that the city has not met it’s obligations to him.

    If I were Mr. Phelps, I would reply thanking the team for their forthright letter and advising them that Glendale has instructed their arena management partner not to offer a new lease (one year or otherwise).

    As has often been said here of the Raiders, ‘go play in the street then’.

    We already know that the return for the city on having the team play is negative (even when the construction cost amortization is ignored). If the hockey team is gone, the city can also renegotiate it’s management contract with AEG (or vice versa…)

  5. Seattle’s KeyArena welcomes you…. just call up the contracted management company, AEG.


    1. Thats the crazy thing to me; does he not realize AEG runs many of the venues he could threaten to move to? Theyll either call him out on his bullshit, force him to take a bad deal on one of their buildings or force him to move into a city he doesnt actually want to because its one of the few open venues without a team or an AEG owned/run arena. The Coyotes really are a stupid team

  6. The franchise should have never moved from Winnipeg in the first place. Karma is a bitch Mr. Bettman…

  7. Mr. LeBlanc, in order to play the public stadium cash leverage game, one which I myself play quite well, one must have something that the public actually *wants*. And my friend, hockey in the desert is not that something.

    1. Do you get the feeling Mr. Leblanc (successful though he may be) is a little like the guy at the poker table who can’t figure out which one of his fellow players is the patsy?

      1. There isn’t a patsy at the table because he’s the only player and he imagines that the city and AEG are playing too. I guess that makes him a patsy, sort of. Or just a dope throwing a tantrum.

  8. Hmm…..I was telling my kids last night when reading this either Portland will get the Wile E. Coyotes…or we could see them move back to Canada. As in, the return of the Nordiques.

    As for Seattle, yeah the Key Arena would be a good venue, if we were talking in terms of the older economic model of the NHL (like the first rounds of expansion and Peter Puck). But seeing there is no real movement to build an acceptable arena [the one in Kent would be a money loser for an NHL team], moving anything to the Key would just be a band aid.

    1. QC would make sense but that would just screw up conference balance even more than it is already. You have 16 in the EC and 14 in the WC. Moving a team from the WC to the EC at this point would just make it worse.

      I’m all for Portland though. Unlike Key Arena, they have an NHL capable arena just waiting in the wings. I have to think that somehow, someway, they will come to an agreement with Paul Allen on a lease.

      I remember Bettman always saying that a “PNW” rivalry with Vancouver would be a good thing. He never mentioned Seattle specifically meaning that or at least I hope he was leaving the door open for Portland.

      1. You realize NHL alignment has been done at least a dozen times, right? It means nothing in the grand scheme of things. It will not stop a team from moving to Quebec / east. They’ll simply move a team to the west. It’s nobody’s fault that 2/3rds of teams are east of the Mississippi River.

        1. I realize that but the NHL is hell bent on keeping Detroit in the EC as that’s what the Red Wings want and since they’re an original 6 member, they usually get things their way.

          Yes, if worst comes to worst they will do what’s best for the league and realign accordingly but they’ve been pretty adamant about trying to expand with west coast teams and leaving EC markets like QC open for relocation. Not sure at what point it becomes a hopeless endeavor to the NHL but they seem to be pretty hard headed about finding a Seattle solution and doing nothing until that situation resolves itself.

          1. In a sense, thls already is a hopeless situation, in that if they are that hell bent on a Seattle team, they will expand/move one there to appease those who want to have another major sports team there. However….rivalry with the Canucks aside, when the novelty wears off…the league could…once again be looking at an Atlanta or Cleveland situation. And we all know how those turned out.

  9. They should tell this team to hit the road and move anywhere…..I am tired of paying for this team when they are the biggest farce on the face of the earth. They OVERSELL everything they CLAIM they can bring to any city.

    1. Yeah, it’s all your money. Can’t wait for the new expansion team in Vegas so you people have a different team to whine about.

  10. This team will move to Canada before then 2016-17 season. The CEO is from Canada and moving is going to be a major plus for this team.

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