PHOENIX - The Arizona Coyotes might be just a few weeks away from finding a new arena far away from Glendale. But Phoenix says talks there have stalled.
Coyotes Chief Executive Officer Anthony LeBlanc revealed Monday the team was very close to picking a site --possibly in downtown Phoenix or at ASU in Tempe. 12 News has learned of two additional sites in the East Valley.
"I know people feel that I'm kind of nuts on this one," LeBlanc said at a news conference where he announced the firing of General Manager Don Maloney. "The reality is we do anticipate there will be an announcement on this front in the next couple of weeks."
The question is where the arena site will be.
Despite LeBlanc's mentioning Phoenix at the news conference, the Coyotes' talks with the city appear to have hit a dead end, after the hockey team failed to open its books.
There has been talk of the Coyotes and the Phoenix Suns sharing an arena built on the current Convention Center site at the southeast corner of Washington and 3rd streets.
"The Coyotes' decision to decline to share the team's current financial information makes it nearly impossible to engage in serious negotiations for a new dual-purpose arena," a City Hall executive close to the negotiations said in a statement Monday to 12 News. "There is a real and still unanswered question about whether the Coyotes are in a financial position to move forward."
The Coyotes have posted losses for several years, but LeBlanc told me several months ago that the team would invest its own money in a new arena.
A Phoenix site would require a commitment of tax dollars from the city as well as a citywide vote.
An Arizona State University site also raises questions. ASU signed a $900,000 contract last month with stadium developer HOK to come up with a master plan and designs for sports facilities, possibly including a hockey arena.
The arena study is due by the end of Ma and the master plan by the end of August, according to the HOK contract.
A partnership with ASU would put the team in a revenue-generating tax district that would ease the financial burden of building an arena.
Two other potential Coyotes sites are on tribal land along the Loop 101 and north of the 202 interchange. One site is on the old Scottsdale Six drive-in land near McKellips Road, another is near the Arizona Diamondbacks' spring training home at Salt River Fields.
The Coyotes' lease at Gila River Arena in Glendale ends in 13 months, in June 2017.