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Scrambling to find a temporary facility after their relationship with the City of Glendale officially fizzled, the Arizona Coyotes are looking to the NCAA ranks.
According to Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports, the Coyotes are in "advanced talks" with officials from Arizona State University to use its multipurpose venue for home games for the next three or four seasons — this while the club awaits approval to begin building its proposed arena in Tempe.
This NCAA venue will indeed be an event space big and sophisticated enough to contain the events themselves. But there's one elephant-in-the-room drawback or concession for the Coyotes, NHL, and NHLPA to consider when planning for its next steps: limited capacity.
It's being reported that the 5,000-seat floor plan at this to-be-completed arena may need to be reduced to 3,200 in order to house NHL games, which of course should be considered well below the acceptable standard. For comparison's sake, the Winnipeg Jets have the NHL's smallest arena by capacity, currently, with space for well over 15,000 fans.
heading to an Arizona Coyotes game next season pic.twitter.com/gIHiMOCruS
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) January 27, 2022
While moving to ASU's facility would seriously damage the team's gate and overall earning potential, the revenue-sharing NHL is apparently not opposed to the idea. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly acknowledged that a standard must be met, but told Morgan the league "would approach the entire situation in a way intended to accommodate the club’s needs in effectuating a successful transition to a new venue."
Morgan adds that the Coyotes would have to contribute to the ongoing build, creating and funding areas built specifically for them. It's estimated that it could cost the club upwards of $20 million on top of the lease, and while starting into construction on the Tempe project.
While this might be viewed as the only possible course of action for the team and the league, one group that might be particularly uninterested in the proposed timeshare are those who will have to work out of these facilities for up to four years.
At worst, this is will continue to dissuade players from considering the Coyotes as a destination. And weren't they planning on some sort of pitch to a certain Arizona-raised superstar before 2024?
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