The future of the Arizona Coyotes franchise in the city of Glendale has been thrown into doubt after Glendale’s City Council has voted to end the arena lease agreement. The council voted 5-2 last night to end the 15-year, $225 million lease agreement which was signed in 2013 by Glendale and IceArizona after the team was purchased from the NHL. The City Council asked to see if the Coyotes would renegotiate the arena deal, but they refused.
Obviously the Coyotes would legally fight any move to terminate lease agreement. Relocation speculation is very premature.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 10, 2015
Nick Wood, who is the Coyotes’ outside counsel has said the team will file for a $200 million dollar lawsuit, a temporary restraining order, and injunctive relief. "At this point, the damage has been done," Wood said. "How do we negotiate our way out of being shot in the head by the city?" The team has suggested that this vote had a significant effect on the local businesses, potential sponsors for the team, free agents, and a potential bid for the 2017 Junior World Hockey Championships. Co-owners Anthony LeBlanc and Andrew Barroway were none too pleased when the news arose. LeBlanc even had some choice words about the council as well. "What we have witnessed here tonight is possibly the most shameful exhibition of government I have ever witnessed," LeBlanc said. "The citizens of Glendale should be very concerned about the government that they have leading them right now, because this was not appropriate."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman took a shot at the Coyotes and their fans saying, "I'm not really concerned about the Arizona Coyotes. If I lived in Glendale, I would be concerned about my government." If anything, Bettman should be very anxious about the situation since it was he and the NHL that fought off billionaire Jim Balsillie in 2009 to keep the team in Arizona when the franchise went bankrupt; Balsillie’s plan was to move the franchise to Hamilton, Ontario.
There are a couple of locations that the franchise could relocate to such as Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, or Quebec City according to Darren Dreger. However, the money involved in expansion is significantly greater than relocation, so that could potentially rule out all four of those destinations.
Worst case, long term, Seattle or Portland could emerge as relocation options, but both are also expansion spots along with Que City and LV.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 10, 2015
With potential expansion fees of $500 million per, relocation isn't nearly as lucrative as expansion...when the time is right.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 10, 2015