Coyotes' new arena plans hit a huge snag
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Coyotes' new arena plans hit a huge snag

Wow... what a shocker.



Arizona Coyotes President Xavier Gutierrez told media earlier this season that the team has identified six potential arena sites in a last ditch effort to remain in the Phoenix area.

Where are those sites?

Hamilton, Quebec City, Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio.

I kid, of course, the sites are all in the state of Arizona, but who are we kidding? The Coyotes are cooked in Arizona, right?

In particular, Gutierrez listed potential construction sites in the cities of Scottsdale, Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona. “We still want to put our money where our mouth is and build something that’ll be best in class,” said Gutierrez. Which, for a team that plays out of a 5,000 seat college arena, is just the height of irony to me. 

Despite having their multi-billion dollar plan for a new arena and entertainment district in Tempe rejected, the Coyotes are still committed to remaining in the Arizona desert.

“To all the fans, we are committed to making this happen,” he added. “We were disappointed with the vote in Tempe, but we turned the page very quickly.”

Now, just months later TSN insider Darren Dreger is reporting that the team's plans to purchase land in Phoenix have hit a snag.

From Dreger's most recent 'Insider Trading' segment on TSN:

"I'm told that they are making progress in securing property in Phoenix. The problem with it is though is that the property that they have targeted has to go to land auction first. It's a valuable piece of property so nothing is decided just yet."

- Darren Dreger

What a shocker... nothing is EVER a guarantee with the Coyotes.

Meanwhile, The Arizona Republic has also reported that the city of Tempe itself is under investigation for violating state law concerning the use of public dollars in an effort to influence the outcome of the Coyotes' public vote. The newspaper reports that Tempe used $32,000 to hire a public relations firm to gather information on the Coyotes' opposition in the May vote that sealed the Coyotes' fate. 

More from the Arizona Republic:

The Arizona Attorney General's Office is investigating Tempe for possibly violating open meeting laws and using tens of thousands of public dollars in an effort to influence the outcome of the Arizona Coyotes election.

Both allegations have to do with Tempe hiring a political consultant to monitor and geolocate opponents of the project using social media, as described by the scope of work.

Tempe quietly hired the consulting firm, called Strategy 48, on Oct. 15, 2022, without a public vote. That was three weeks before Tempe "reserved" a spot on its special election ballot for the Coyotes' $2.1 billion proposal to build an NHL arena and entertainment district on city-owned property. Residents decisively rejected the project on May 16.

Tempe paid the Phoenix-based public relations firm more than $32,000 for services that are typically used by political campaigns, rather than by government bodies. A city document obtained by The Arizona Republic shows the contractor's scope of work included:

  • Identifying social media pages "that could provide a platform for project opposition to publicize their concerns," as well as analyzing media stories and online posts to "better understand potential opposition messaging strategy."
  • Tracking the social media activity of individuals who post about the project and working to "determine where they live" in order to gather "data needed to identify and micro-target messaging."
  • Developing a long-term outreach plan in coordination with the Coyotes. In addition to being the main beneficiary of the project, the NHL franchise also ran the vote "yes" campaign.

I personally have no clue how serious these allegations are or what the outcome of this all may be if Tempe and the Coyotes are found to have been colluding, but I do know that I don't see any other NHL teams tangled up in corruption investigations. 

This team just consistently makes headlines in the worst ways possible. The sooner the NHL gets them out of Arizona and into a proper NHL city, the better for everyone.

Source: Darren Dreger