The future of the Arizona Coyotes is in serious jeopardy Tuesday night after a public vote on a proposed new arena in Tempe, Arizona failed.
The Coyotes were counting on getting results to move forward with the new arena to help secure the team’s long-term future in the desert.
But after it became apparent they were going to fail Tuesday night, both the Coyotes and the NHL issued ominous announcements about what’s next.
“The National Hockey League is terribly disappointed with the outcome of the public referendum on the Tempe Coyotes’ arena project.” Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement released by the league. “We’re going to review with the coyotes what options they have going forward.”
The coyotes added their own statement:
“We are very disappointed that the voters of Tempe did not approve Propositions 301, 302 and 303. As Tempe Mayor Cory Woods said, it was the best sports deal in Arizona history. The Coyotes would like to thank everyone who supported our efforts and voted yes.”
Ownership and arena dramas have been a constant for the Coyotes for most of their existence in Arizona, and it appears they have finally reached a tipping point that could lead to a relocation of the organization. The Coyotes spent the 2022–23 season playing in a 5,000-seat stadium they shared with Arizona State University. The plan was for the Coyotes to play there for a few seasons until a new arena was built in Tempe. But if that offer falls through, it seems entirely possible the Coyotes could end up moving.
The Coyotes have played in Arizona since 1996-97, when the original Winnipeg Jets franchise moved there.
If relocation is again on the table, Houston and Quebec City will almost certainly be at the top of the list.
The NHL has not moved a team since the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg (to become the second version of the Winnipeg Jets) for the start of the 2011-12 season.