TEMPE, Ariz. — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast.
Arizona State University got the go-ahead Thursday to build a $20 million addition that would allow the Arizona Coyotes to use a new campus arena as the NHL team's home for the next three years and possibly longer.
The Arizona Board of Regents, the governing body for the state's three public universities, approved the addition at its meeting.
Morgan Olsen, ASU's chief financial officer, told the regents that the Coyotes would pay the full $20 million cost of the addition, as well as the team's annual arena rent, in advance.
The lease was originally proposed as a three-year agreement, but Olsen said it could go longer "while (the Coyotes) ultimate larger home is being built."
The Coyotes turned to ASU last December after the City of Glendale ended lease negotiations at Gila River Arena, the team's home for two decades. That left the team homeless for the start of the next hockey season, in October.
The team will now share a 5,000-seat multipurpose arena on the ASU Tempe campus with the university's NCAA hockey team. The arena is smaller than many minor league hockey facilities. The Coyotes' Glendale home seats 16,000.
The Coyotes still must sign a lease agreement with the arena manager, Oak View Group., Olsen said. That agreement does not require the regents' approval, but two regents said they wanted to see it.
The team's long-term home is still up in the air.
The Coyotes have proposed a $1.7 billion hockey arena and entertainment complex west of the ASU campus, near Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway.
The Tempe City Council has yet to discuss the Coyotes proposal.
A consultant's report still hasn't been completed.
There are questions about how the proposed arena's height would affect air traffic at nearby Sky Harbor Airport.
And opponents of the project are soliciting support among Tempe residents.
The $20 million arena annex would provide locker rooms, coaches' offices, and other facilities for the day of a hockey game. ASU will keep the annex once the team lease ends.
According to ASU documents, the team couldn't start play at the arena until December. That means the Coyotes would have to play the first two months of the season on the road.
Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez issued this statement:
"We are thrilled that we have arranged to play our home games in Arizona State University's new multi-purpose arena starting next season. This will be an incredible, intimate and exciting fan experience in a state-of-the-art new arena in a fantastic location in the heart of Tempe.
"We are very grateful to Dr. Crow, the ASU Administration, ASU Athletic Department and the Arizona Board of Regents for agreeing to provide us with this temporary arena solution for our team as we continue our efforts to secure a long-term home for the Coyotes in the Valley."
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who has refused to give up on hockey in Arizona despite years of financial losses for the Coyotes, said:
"The National Hockey League thanks Arizona State University for its support of the Coyotes during this transition period and for what will be just its latest major commitment to growing our game in the Valley.
"Having made the full-time transition to Division I just seven years ago, ASU hockey already has an NCAA Tournament appearance to its credit and now is moving into a new, state-of-the-art facility. Hockey is thriving in Tempe, and we are delighted that the Coyotes' passionate fans will get to experience ASU's on-campus energy while the Club's new arena is being built."
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