Glendale City Council votes down Coyotes arena deal; team threatens $200 million lawsuit

Photo via screen shot of Glendale website
Photo via screen shot of Glendale website

The city of Glendale voted to end the Arizona Coyotes lease at Gila River Arena. The decision came via 5-2 vote and now this leads to more uncertainty for the troubled franchise.

Per the Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc via a statement:

"We are disappointed with the city's decision to violate its obligations under the agreement that was entered into and duly approved only two years ago. We will exhaust any and all legal remedies against the city of Glendale for this blatant violation of its contractual obligations to us."

And there's also this:

After the vote, attorney Nicholas Wood said the team would file for injunctive relief and a temporary restraining order, and file a $200 million lawsuit against the City.

That's a lot of money.

According to the Coyotes, majority owner Andrew Barroway was on a previously planned family trip. He was in Phoenix on Monday and then left Tuesday afternoon. The Coyotes said they weren't made aware of the meeting until Tuesday at 6 p.m. and Barroway had already left.

That sounds like more legal wrangling for the Coyotes, who have been unstable off the ice and in limbo since 2009.

The previous deal was approved on a 4-3 vote in July 2013.

The city of Glendale believed the Coyotes were not using the $15 million per-year payment from the city to the Coyotes for arena management purposes.

Why did this happen Wednesday? Via ABC 15

The city council's vote was based on an Arizona statute that allows an agency to cancel a contract when an employee who was highly involved with the agreement becomes an agent or employee of the contract's other party. Craig Tindall has served as general counsel to the Coyotes since 2013 after stepping down from his role as Glendale city attorney after the lease was approved.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, during a CBC interview during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, said he was more concerned with Glendale’s government than the Coyotes ownership. Granted, he has to say those words, but he’s probably correct.

The Coyotes lease was indeed favorable to the team. The organization has continued to lose a lot of money and is closing in on its $50 million out clause. But local government seems to be happier without an anchor tenant in its arena.

Or is it?

Wednesday it publicly stated a desire to negotiate with the Coyotes. Again, via ABC 15.

In a statement Wednesday, the City of Glendale expressed a desire to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, but suggested it was looking for a restructured lease. 

Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, who voted against the lease in 2013, said he "wants the Coyotes in Glendale" but "it has to be a situation that is beneficial for both parties." 

Good luck with that Glendale City Council, especially after these shenanigans. So much for good faith bargaining moving forward.

The scene was broadcast online. There was even a session where local residents could plead their cases to the council.

Some were even wearing Coyotes jerseys like our lead photo or the below individual who said he ran a blog and vehemently argued for the Coyotes to stay.

Photo via city of Glendale screen shot
Photo via city of Glendale screen shot

Now what? Who knows. There was even a tweet about moving the Coyotes into downtown Phoenix with the Suns.

This would make more sense, since the organization has been at odds with the city of Glendale seemingly forever at this point. Also, it's not like Glendale is a bustling metropolis, unless you count the Westgate mall.

But even this has some questions per Phoenix Business Journal:

The new arena could be configured for both hockey and basketball. Arenas in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Boston all have similar designs.

But there are not even preliminary plans for a new Suns arena downtown and the Convention Center talk is still just talk and odds-on speculation.

The NHL has bent over backwards to keep the Coyotes in the desert. The league has given no indication that it’s willing to pull the plug and allow some sort of move.

What’s going to happen? When it comes to this team in that location, expect the unexpected. If there's more legal work, we may not know for a long time. Oh fun.

- - - - - - -

Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!