PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The Arizona Coyotes aren’t looking to move out of Glendale at the moment. But team co-owner Anthony Leblanc indicated that other options in the Phoenix area could be enticing if the right one was presented to the team.
The city and the Coyotes came to a two-year lease agreement last summer, after Glendale voted to terminate the team’s prior lease via a special vote. During the summer of 2013, the Coyotes and Glendale came to a 15-year $225 million lease agreement.
The Coyotes said they would not be one of the companies bidding to manage the arena. Glendale opened up the process, meaning the Coyotes may not be able to manage their own building.
“How we’re looking at things with Glendale is they’re going through a process of a (request for proposal) to find a new arena manager and because of how that process came about, we were forced to look at what alternatives looked like in the community,” Leblanc said in an interview with Puck Daddy. “What became very loud and very clear, which was a real benefit, was there were a number of communities in an around the Valley that were interested in having conversations with us.”
The best possible situation would probably be a joint arena built in Phoenix with the NBA’s Suns and the Coyotes in mind.
“Obviously the city of Phoenix has been very open,” Leblanc said. “From the city of Phoenix’s perspective, if they can have two teams in that facility, it makes all the sense in the world.”
Leblanc also talked about a joint facility with Arizona State, which is based in Tempe.
Leblanc has constantly pledged the Coyotes’ commitment to the Valley, in spite of calls to move the team out of the area because of politics plays by the city of Glendale. He doesn’t want to scare his fanbase. He more wants to let them know that there is a commitment in the Phoenix area, but that Glendale may not be an option sooner rather than later.
“I mean people they’re finally realizing, and I say that carefully because our fanbase in particular went through an awful lot over the last number of years so I don’t want to sound like I’m being kind of crass in saying ‘I can’t believe it took them this long to understand what we were looking to do.’ I think people are finally sitting back and going ‘OK, we’re not concerned,’” Leblanc said. “Is the team probably going to move from Glendale?’ Chances are looking strongly. Are they staying in Arizona? Absolutely.”
Normally at the NHL’s Board of Governors – which is currently taking place at Pebble Beach – the Coyotes are a focal point because of their unsettled situation. This time the Coyotes are hardly a main discussion point. There seems to be a clearer path moving forward – out of Glendale but still in the Valley to a better situation.
“They’re offering advice, they’re offering help. Guys that may have gone through this before in the markets that they’re in are saying, ‘Hey, this is what we’ve tried’ so it’s been a real spirit of camaraderie,” Leblanc said.
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