Announced on the Official Website of the Arizona Coyotes, the Coyotes have signed a Letter of Agreement for the purchase of the their top affiliate the Springfield Falcons. The American Hockey League team will, upon approval, move to Tucson, AZ starting this upcoming season.
Pro Hockey Is returning to the Old Pueblo
The Agreement needs to be approved and ratified by the AHL Board of Governors. Additionally, the Coyotes need to satisfy any closing conditions and complete a lease agreement in Tucson for a facility.
The Arena has recently undergone $8 million in renovations that include updated seating, lighting, concessions and restrooms. The portions of the Arena that would house the new team including locker rooms, operations and medical facilities need to be upgraded in time for the season.
The AHL is the top developmental league the NHL. Having their top affiliate only 100 miles away would be a huge benefit to the Coyotes. Emergency call-ups would much easier than having to fly across the country from Massachusetts. Now they would just have to drive up the I-10 to Phoenix.
The Coyotes would also join their Pacific Division counterparts in having their top affiliate nearby. Anaheim (San Diego Gulls), Los Angeles (Ontario Reign), and San Jose (San Jose Barracudas) enjoy that advantage. Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver still have their affiliates far away from their home bases.
The purchase of the Falcons and their move to Tucson further cements the Coyotes ties to Arizona. After nearly a decade of bankruptcy proceedings, rumors, and legal battles it seems that all of that noise can be put to rest. Once the Coyotes cement their partnership with Arizona State University for a new arena the nail will be driven into the coffin, at long last.