- The Arizona Coyotes are close to being banned from their own arena
- The city of Glendale is threatening to deny team employees from entering the building over unpaid taxes and fees
- Read more NHL news here
In 1996, the NHL decided it was time to establish a professional franchise that plays a sport that requires a solid sheet of ice in a location with a climate that is the closest most people will get to experience hell on Earth when the Winnipeg Jets defected to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes.
After relocating, the team that is now known as the “Arizona Coyotes” made a number of one-and-done playoff appearances, and after a lengthy postseason drought around the turn of the millennium, they had a few promising years at the start of the previous decade. Unfortunately, it’s all been downhill from there.
Those promising years in question came after the NHL took ownership of the franchise when its previous owner filed for bankruptcy. That moment also marked the beginning of a very rocky relationship with the city of Glendale, which has spent over a decade attempting to squeeze as much money as possible out of the team for the privilege of playing in Gila River Arena.
However, based on a report from The Athletic, it appears the team is dangerously close to losing those privileges. Despite the best efforts of the Coyotes, the combination of Arizona’s virtually nonexistent hockey culture and a general disinterest in a team that’s spent most of its existence mired in mediocrity has made it difficult to attract fans (and more importantly, the money they spend).
As a result, the franchise has fallen behind on tax payments that are owed to the city and state to the tune of $1.3 million (in addition to other fees owed to arena operator ASM Global). On Wednesday, we learned Arizona’s Department of Revenue filed a lien stating the outstanding debt must be paid by December 20th or team employees (which presumably includes its players) will be barred from entering the arena.
If delinquent bills and outstanding invoices are not paid by December 20 at 5 pm MST, ASM has been instructed to deny access to the arena to employees.
Coyotes next home game following that deadline is December 23 against TBL. https://t.co/Yd3kTTKrXA
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) December 9, 2021
After the news broke, the Coyotes blamed the issue on human error and said all the bills would be paid by Thursday morning (they have not been as of this writing).