Arizona Coyotes Facing Eviction From NHL Arena Over Unpaid Bills

The city of Glendale informed the Coyotes they'll be locked out of Gila River Arena on December 20 if the issue isn't resolved

Travis Boyd of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal at Gila River Arena
Travis Boyd of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal at Gila River Arena.
Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty

After previously opting out of its lease agreement with the team in a move that will go into effect at the end of this NHL season, the city of Glendale threatened to lock the Arizona Coyotes out of their home arena if the club does not pay its delinquent tax bills and unpaid arena charges by December 20, according to The Athletic.

In a letter delivered on Wednesday, Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps informed Coyotes CEO Xavier Gutierrez that the Arizona Department of Revenue has filed a Notice of State Tax Lien for unpaid taxes owed by IceArizona, the club’s ownership company. Per the letter, the Coyotes owe $1.3 million, including $250,000 to the city, in unpaid bills related to Gila River Arena.

Should the bills not be paid by the 20th, Glendale has instructed Gila River Arena’s management company, ASM, to deny team employees access to the arena and the administrative offices located within it. Arena vendors would also be locked out of their workspace.

“We have already launched an investigation to determine how this could have happened and initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error,” the Coyotes said in a statement. “Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure that by tomorrow (Thursday) morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.”

Arizona’s first home game following the payment deadline is December 23 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Even if the team pays up in time and the game against the Lightning takes place, the Coyotes will probably not be playing in Glendale beyond the 2021-22 season as the team has already submitted a bid for a tract of land in Tempe.

Perhaps it won’t be a big loss for the community.

“A city-commissioned report showed that events such as concerts at Gila River Arena bring in significantly more revenue for the city than Coyotes games,” per the Arizona Republic. “But the arena hosts far more hockey games than it does concerts and other events.”

UPDATE: Like most Americans, the Coyotes have paid their taxes.

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