The Arizona Coyotes are not happy with their situation in Glendale. The team had the framework of a plan to move to Tempe until late last week, when Arizona State pulled out of a potential deal. Taxpayers still owe $150 million on the Coyotes’ 14-year-old stadium, but owner Anthony LeBlanc is going to push for a new building until the city reinstates an old deal that allowed LeBlanc to get paid $8 million a year to run the stadium. The Coyotes also have the third-worst attendance in the NHL, a hair ahead of the Hurricanes and Islanders.
According to a report from the Glendale Star, the Coyotes have begun sniffing around (biology term) Portland and Seattle and reps from the team have toured arenas in both cities. The Trail Blazers’ stadium is new enough that it could easily accommodate a hockey team, while Seattle’s old NBA arena would need some sprucing up. There’s also a possibility that Seattle gets a new NBA/NHL arena soon courtesy of Chris Hansen.
For their part, the Coyotes denied the report. It’d make sense for them to have a credible relocation threat to wave in Glendale’s face in order to scare them into giving up more money, so this could be smoke and mirrors. That said, the NHL does want to put a team somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, and both cities appear to want a team.
Update, 2/13, 12:14 p.m. EST: Here’s the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker throwing some cold water on the Star’s initial report.