Major Coyotes “screw up” embarrasses the NHL yet again.

Major Coyotes “screw up” embarrasses the NHL yet again.

The team is no longer in the National Hockey League, but it continues to make the league look bad.

Jonathan Larivee

Oh you thought the years long fiasco surrounding the Arizona Coyotes in the desert was finally over after the team was sold and relocated to Utah? Guess again.

In what is perhaps the most believable unbelievable story you're going to hear about the National Hockey League all year, the Arizona Coyotes have once again managed to make themselves look like the most incompetent of fools.

On Friday, the Arizona State Land Department announced that they would be cancelling a land auction that was originally scheduled for June 26th, a land auction that the Arizona Coyotes organization was planning to use to purchase a new parcel of land that would allow them to move forward with the construction of a new NHL ready arena.

This would appear to be a death knell for the Coyotes organization given the parameters put in place by the NHL when it comes to reactivating the Coyotes franchise under the ownership of Alex Meruelo. That being said, Alex Meruelo may have no one to blame but himself according to one Coyotes insider.

"I'm just gonna say it," said Coyotes Craig Morgan. "Alex Meruelo's ownership group somehow screwed up this process as well.

"How the Coyotes did not do that due diligence before they embarked on this project is mind boggling."

The insider did not blame the state for the last minute rug pull, but instead suggested that this was yet another fumble in a long long of mistakes from this ownership group.

"That is gross incompetence that's what it is, gross incompetence," added Morgan. "How did you not check that box before you went ahead? And it's just another in a long line of colossal mistakes that this ownership group has made."

Morgan clearly laid the blame at the feet of no one but Meruelo himself.

"Nobody wants to work with this guy," admitted Morgan. "He is an utter disaster every step of the way... just go away already and let somebody else have a crack at it."

For what it is worth, the Coyotes have released a statement in response to Friday's announcement:

Today, after over a year of planning and meeting every obligation required under Arizona law, the Arizona State Land Department unilaterally canceled the auction that was scheduled to occur on June 27th for the site that has been identified as the future home of the Arizona Coyotes. This unprecedented action by the State of Arizona seriously jeopardizes the future of NHL hockey returning to the desert.
As was announced in an April press conference by Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, the site of North Scottsdale Road and the 101 was identified as ideally suited to build a 110-acre mixed use development anchored by a state-of-the-art arena to serve as the home of the Coyotes. It has been made very clear to the State of Arizona that the Coyotes are fully committed to building out the infrastructure, going through the necessary approvals and developing the site into a world class destination, yet the ASLD has canceled the auction despite the objections of the Coyotes less than a week before the scheduled auction date.

The organization has worked in good faith with the ASLD and has been on track to win the auction next week until the sudden reversal by ASLD today.
By canceling the land auction, the state is forgoing millions, and potentially billions of dollars that would have gone directly to K-12 education. By investing in the infrastructure of this site, the Coyotes would have unlocked over 2,000 acres of state land for development that would have returned over $2 billion to Arizona schools, created thousands of construction and permanent jobs and created a new significant tax base to support the future growth of our state.
The Arizona Coyotes are exploring all of our legal options given this shortsighted decision by the State.

It may still be premature to label the Coyotes as officially dead, but it certainly doesn't sound like the state of Arizona wants anything to do with the Arizona Coyotes... at least not under this current ownership group.