Gila River Arena (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Coyotes may have changed their name to Arizona, but they could be heading back to Phoenix in the near future. According to a report, the Coyotes are looking to move out of Glendale and could be heading to Phoenix or Scottsdale.
Talk about the potential relocation of the Arizona Coyotes has run rampant for much of the past five seasons, but it appears a move could be actually be on the horizon. Don’t expect that move to see them move out of the desert, however.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the City of Glendale’s decision to end its lease agreement with the Coyotes has opened up the opportunity for the Coyotes to move elsewhere, but ownership appears to be looking within Arizona. Two potential locations include Phoenix and Scottsdale, reports LeBrun.
When the Coyotes originally relocated to Arizona, they took up residence in Phoenix at the America West Arena, which also plays host to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The Coyotes left the building in 2003 in order to play in Glendale, however, and a move back to Phoenix could be contingent on a new downtown arena that could play host to both the Suns and Coyotes.
As for Scottsdale, LeBrun reported a Native American tribe has said they could potentially put a building in East Valley Scottsdale to host the Coyotes, while there is also a “confidential option…that would also keep the team in the local area.”
Wherever the Coyotes do move, they want to have it in place by the end of this year and move out of Glendale by the 2019-20 season, according to LeBrun.
This season, the Coyotes are averaging an attendance of 14,188 per contest, which is 82.9 percent of their building’s capacity. Arizona’s attendance ranks 27th in the NHL so far this season. In 2014-15, the Coyotes had the third-worst attendance in the league with an average of 13,345 fans (77.9 percent of capacity).