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The Arizona Coyotes were essentially served an eviction notice on Thursday as the city of Glendale decided not to renew the yearly agreement between itself and the team.
The broken-off pact forces the Coyotes out of their current home at Gila River Arena after the 2021-22 campaign. The team's official statement highlights the fact that president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez would like to try his best to keep the franchise in Arizona but without anything concrete, a return to the Valley is not guaranteed.
When the 2022-23 NHL season begins, the Yotes will be playing somewhere new, but where exactly? Here are the most likely destinations.
Hockey fans in the desert hope the team doesn't have to relocate too far and a return to its former home, the Footprint Center, could offer a nearby solution.
When the Winnipeg Jets first relocated from Manitoba to Arizona in 1996, the Coyotes' first-ever arena was the Footprint Center, which was known at the time as America West Arena. The Coyotes stayed there until the 2003-04 season. The arena is now currently home to the NBA's Phoenix Suns, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, and the Indoor Football League's Arizona Rattlers.
Situated roughly 30 minutes away from Gila River Arena, the Coyotes could make Footprint Center their new home while the identity of the franchise remains largely unchanged.
Here we go again. After bidding and falling short of securing an NHL franchise in the expansion that awarded Las Vegas the Golden Knights, Quebec City could once again be in the mix to acquire a professional hockey team.
After the NHL went westward with each of its last two expansion teams, it's a little more feasible for the league to add another team to the east. While it would require a little maneuvering with regards to division alignment, it's certainly a doable proposition.
Most recently, Quebec City was home to the NHL's Nordiques, who relocated to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.
The infrastructure is already in place for a potential return, as the NHL-equipped Videotron Centre opened in 2015. The arena features 18,259 seats and is currently home to the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts.
If the NHL wants to keep a franchise in the southern portion of the United States and staying in Arizona is not feasible, a move to Houston could be in the cards. Houston, the fifth-largest city between the U.S. and Canada, is the most populous city to not currently host an NHL team.
Tilman Fertitta is the owner of the Houston Rockets and the arena the basketball squad plays in, the Toyota Center, and he has expressed interest in bringing an NHL team to Houston in the past. Fertitta tweeted the following in 2017:
As I've mentioned before, I'm very interested in the possibility of bringing the NHL to Houston, but it will have to be a deal that works for my organization, the City, fans of the NHL throughout the region, and the NHL board of governors. We are in the very early stage of evaluating what opportunities may exist but look forward to a thorough process.
From 2003-13, the Toyota Center was home to the AHL's Houston Aeros, so the arena has been used for hockey in the past.
Jim Balsillie, you ready for another crack at this thing?
The former co-CEO of Research In Motion has tried three times to bring an NHL team to Hamilton, Ont., with no success. He's tried bringing the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and Coyotes to the 'Hammer' before, but maybe he's interested in a second go-around with the Yotes?
Relocating an NHL franchise to Hamilton is a little trickier than other locations given its close proximity to both Toronto and Buffalo. Balsillie, or whoever is interested in relocating a team to Hamilton, would potentially have to compensate the Maple Leafs and Sabres for being within 50 miles of either organization.
FirstOntario Centre would be the site for an NHL team in the city. It's a 17,383-seat arena that currently hosts the OHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. It was previously the home of the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs from 1996-2015.
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