Coyotes Officially Homeless

Has anyone ever gone through this in a relationship? You meet someone and come to some sort of agreement about working things out. Yet, a lot of the past still haunts you. All the negativity and frustration that burdened you is attached, and they just still can’t seem to get over it. The other party though is doing their part and make things right, sometimes even better than before. A nice dinner here and there, then a pricey vacation, and lots of glamour and fame were promised, and every bit of it was kept. Well, in the long run, they still don’t like the way they were being treated for some odd reason, even if there was a compromise to begin with. They are still bitter about the past, and they ridicule you for how you were and say that nothing has changed. And in the end, they break up with you without giving a real legitimate reason why, without realizing they had something great going on.

Look at what IceArizona and owners Anthony LeBlanc and Anthony Barroway have done and provided to help fill the void that Glendale was looking for. Even with the hockey team still not providing much profit, they livened up the city of Glendale that owns Gila River Arena. Aside from games, concerts fill the schedule when the team is on the road. Profits have gone up slightly this year compared to last, but the team is still in the red when it comes to revenue. In the end, what the city is not happy about is dealing $15 million each year to the team to help fill some of the costs it needs to pay the lease in Glendale. Glendale decided because of a failed promise to good use of the money, they have decided to void the contract.

Before the city council decided on their vote, LeBlanc, Barroway, and many of its citizens pleaded their case, arguing this is a bully that is trying to act like the bigger man just to look tough. LeBlanc and Barroway stated that while Glendale has tried to reach out to the owners about certain issues and litigations, the first type of conversation of any kind happened Monday with regards to ending the deal. By then, while the city did threaten to end the deal, and later sit down to possibly renegotiate, Barroway and LeBlanc stated that this will not happen, and legal action will take place.

From the Arizona Coyotes:

“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.”

Even its city members argued abandoning the team will cost the city millions of dollars. While they could save money short term, there could be damaging consequences that downtown Glendale (known as Westgate) will suffer if there is no nightly activity aside from open restaurants. The Arizona Cardinals currently play at the University of Phoenix Stadium next door, though they only play at that venue 10 times a year, including any possible playoff games. Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell has also expressed his displeasure on how the city negotiates business with the club, and for months the two parties have not had any friendly discussions regarding finance and lease agreements.

The issue sits at the hiring of former city attorney Craig Tindall, who was a major part of the structure of the contract to keep the team in Phoenix in 2013. By Arizona law, they do have a right to end agreements if an employee directly involved with the agreement becomes an employee or agent for that party. Tindall was hired in April 2013, months before the deal was in place. He was let go after, but was paid until September as a severance package.

The Coyotes seem to have a case, but the major problem now lies with the team in general as to where they can go. Since the vote, there have been much speculation that cities that have been in the running for an NHL team are strong options. The only problem is nearly every venue is currently not suitable for a hockey team at this point in time. Las Vegas will not have their new arena ready until 2016. Seattle’s KeyArena is not built for hockey. Kansas City had a team before (Kansas City Scouts) in the mid 70’s, but that only lasted for two seasons before they packed up for Colorado. Hamilton and Quebec are the strongest options, but this could mean yet another issue with travel within the Pacific Division, especially with the three California teams.

Talking Stick Arena (home of the Phoenix Suns) has come up, and the Coyotes have played there before. Many of the city members have welcomed the idea of permanently keeping the team back in the capital, and with sharing the venue with the Suns, and even most of its fan base on the east side of town, this seems to be the best solution.

But for now, the team is homeless. What is scary is while the draft is happening in just two weeks, the NHL schedule will be released in July. By then we should know where the team stands and where they will be playing. The Coyotes and its ownership are looking to sue for $200 million for lost money that the city had promised. If it does go through, this could be a major setback for the entire city. There seems to be no promise at this point to keep up with their promise and add more events as IceArizona agreed to do so.

At the end of the day, the Coyotes have fallen to their worst state yet. It will be sad to see the team go if it does very well happen, but if an ownership and league had fought for years to make a relationship work, and even though they have done so much to provide for them, the other party can still act selfish, take it, and brush them aside.

If they don’t love you, it is time to pack your bags and find someone who can give you much better respect. Glendale will have a monstrous battle on their hands.