Coyotes make progress on new arena proposal for Tempe – NHL.com

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The Arizona Coyotes’ goal of a new arena in Tempe took a step forward Thursday. 
In a special meeting, the Tempe City Council voted 5-2 in favor of the city and the developer to begin negotiations on reaching a deal for an arena and entertainment complex that would become the new home of the Coyotes. 
The developer, Bluebird LLC, was formed by Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo.
“We are extremely pleased that the Tempe City Council has voted to proceed with negotiations on development of the Tempe Entertainment District,” the Coyotes said in a statement. “Having heard all the facts, they have recognized the incredible opportunity that this project presents – not only for the Coyotes but also for the City of Tempe. We look forward to taking the next steps to turn this exciting vision into a reality.”
According to GoPHNX.com, the city of Tempe issued a request for proposal (RFP) almost 11 months ago for the 46-acre site along the south bank of the Salt River just east of Priest Drive.
Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: ���This is the first step of something that we know has a great vision and a great opportunity to really be the home that all our fans have deserved.���Hear from Shane Doan and Xavier Gutierrez following tonight���s Tempe City Council meeting. pic.twitter.com/meFCAJeOhu
The Coyotes proposed a development that, in addition to the new arena, would include hotels, apartments, retail stores and a sportsbook. They have said it would be privately financed and no public money would be used for any of the buildings. 
Members of the Coyotes, including president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, chief hockey development officer Shane Doan, who played 21 seasons with the franchise, and current players Clayton Keller, Christian Fischer and Nick Schmaltz, spoke at the meeting before the vote.
 “You [Coyotes] have done an excellent job resetting the tone and addressing the concerns we have all had,” vice mayor Randy Keating said. “This is not an indication that I will support or not support the project but I am willing to hear more.”
During the meeting that lasted over eight hours, various entities and hundreds of Tempe residents voiced their opinions for or against the project. 
“[Council meetings] are like this and you understand the importance of it because the people need to feel that they have the right to come out and say what they want to say,” Doan said. “As Xavier said, this is the first step. We know that we have more, and we know that we’re going to be part of it. We want to work with the city and we want to do everything we can and answer the people’s questions.  
“We want this to be a building and a development for everybody, something that everyone’s proud of.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined the start of the meeting virtually to say he endorses the plan for the new arena. 
“I want to stress to all of you that the NHL is in full support of the Coyotes organization and ownership and to the future of hockey in Arizona,” Bettman said. “The NHL’s long history with Arizona has demonstrated that we have passionate and incredible hockey fans. Not only passionate, they are smart, devoted and deserve the very best. And this proposed project, we believe, represents the very best. It will be transformative not just for the franchise and for our league, but also for the city of Tempe.
“We believe that this is a great opportunity for Tempe and to finally get the Coyotes a home in the right location. The NHL is committed to the success of NHL hockey in the Valley and this new project is essential in that regard.”
Bettman said that when the project is complete, the Coyotes will be required to sign an agreement that they would not be allowed to relocate. 
“Long term, they want to be in Tempe and we want them to be Tempe. Period.”
The franchise relocated from Winnipeg to Phoenix to begin the 1996-97 season, sharing America West Arena with the Phoenix Suns of the NBA until moving to Glendale in 2003. Glendale broke off negotiations on a multiyear lease extension agreement Aug. 19 and informed the Coyotes that this season would be their last at Gila River Arena. 
The Coyotes will play at a new arena on the campus of Arizona State University beginning next NHL season.
The agreement, which was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in February, will have the Coyotes play home games there through the 2024-25 season, with an option for 2025-26.
The Coyotes will pay about $20 million for multiple upgrades to the 5,000-seat multipurpose home of the university’s independent NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey team.
“Today is a great night,” Gutierrez said. “[The fans] should absolutely be excited. We know we still have a long way to go, and we’ll acknowledge that, but tonight’s a night to celebrate. This is the first step of something we know that has got a great, great vision and a great opportunity to be the home that all these fans, and our fans in waiting, have deserved.” 

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