Coyotes facing eviction from arena for unpaid bills

Sports News

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka (70) makes a save on Vegas Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes could be looking for a new home sooner than expected.

The City of Glendale informed the team that it intends to lock the Coyotes out of Gila River Arena by Dec. 20 if all outstanding debts to the city and the management company for the arena are not paid.

Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps sent a letter to the Coyotes on Wednesday informing the Coyotes they owe $1.3 million, including $250,000 to the city. The contents of the letter were first reported by The Athletic.

“We have already launched an investigation to determine how this could have happened and the initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error,” the Coyotes said in a statement Wednesday night.

“Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure by tomorrow morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.”

Phelps informed the Coyotes that the Arizona Department of Revenue has filed a Notice of Tax Lien for unpaid state and city taxes owned by IceArizona, the Coyotes’ ownership company. Phelps also said in his letter that he has instructed ASM Global, which manages Gila River Arena, to not allow the Coyotes in the arena if the bills are not paid by 5 p.m. on Dec. 20.

The Coyotes have been leasing Gila River Arena on an annual basis since the Glendale City Council voted to opt out of a multimillion-dollar long-term deal in 2016. The city announced last week it will not renew its agreement with the franchise beyond the 2021-22 season.

The team has submitted a bid for a tract of land in Tempe in what could be its first step in landing a permanent home.

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