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New documents detail Arizona Coyotes' plans for ASU's new multipurpose arena

The Coyotes are still looking for an arena to call home next season, and we're getting a look at what they would need to do to play at ASU

TEMPE, Ariz. — Like a coyote wandering the desert and looking for a den to call home, the Arizona Coyotes have been wandering the Valley looking for an arena to play in for the next few seasons, if their plans for a new, permanent home in Tempe get approved. 

That could lead the Coyotes to play at ASU's still-under-construction 5,000-seat multipurpose arena for the 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons.  

Through documents filed by ASU to present before the Arizona Board of Regents at next week's meeting, we are now getting a look at what it would take for the Coyotes to play on ASU's Tempe campus. 

First, since NCAA rules say that ASU's hockey team and the Coyotes cannot share space in the arena, a new, 2-story building that would be about 15,000 square feet to the northeast of the arena, right behind Packard Stadium.  

The building would house "NHL-quality home and away team dressing rooms, training areas, equipment rooms, nutrition stations, coaches work rooms, team storage and a fitness room." 

That building would be permanent and would be repurposed by ASU after the Coyotes move to their new facility for the 2025-26 season.  

There would also need to be adjustments made to the arena so it can house a professional hockey team. That includes "NHL-quality ice equipment and enhanced broadcasting infrastructure, dasher boards, media and medical services, and analytics and replay capabilities to meet NHL requirements."  

This plan would cost about $19.7 million, which would be paid for by the Coyotes. 

The upgrades would not delay construction on the arena, meaning it will be ready to open by November for the Sun Devil hockey season. All of ASU's upgrades would be complete by December, which means the Coyotes would open next season with a long road trip.  

Construction would begin "when the design is complete and after all approvals are in place." That would likely include Tempe City Council approving the Coyotes' plan to build a $1.7 billion arena and entertainment complex on the northeast corner of Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive, on the south banks of the Salt River. The Coyotes submitted their bid for the site in September 2021, but currently, the plan has not been scheduled to go before Tempe City Council. 

According to the documents, ASU wants to take part in this deal because "This unique opportunity to host an NHL team at the new Multipurpose Arena will cast the ASU Sun Devils Ice Hockey program into the national and global spotlight and enhance the university's local impact and social embeddedness."  

Arizona Board of Regents policy 7-208 allows for professional teams, like the Coyotes, to use university athletic facilities, as long as the agreement, and any possible renewals, are for no longer than three years.   

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also spoke about the Coyotes' current situation at a press conference during the NHL's All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas. Here are his comments in full. 

"Let's all take a deep breath on Arizona and focus on the circumstances with which they find themselves. Their current landlord, which is the City of Glendale, despite what they may be saying now basically said to the Coyotes, 'Either sign a 20-year lease or get out.' (The) Coyotes, I believe, have rightfully concluded that long-term it doesn't make sense to continue to be in Glendale. It's a challenge to get there and obviously, relations between the City in Glendale and the Club aren't at a high point. You've got to look at the alternatives because Alex Meruelo, particularly based on what he's prepared to do is obviously committed to the Coyotes and committed to Arizona, is in the process of trying to get the ability to build a new arena on the east side of the Valley of the Sun, Tempe, to be specific. And he is hopeful and optimistic that is something that he can do, which we think will completely reverse the current fortunes of the club. So, what do you do in the interim? Glendale has shut them out, the Phoenix Suns have apparently no interest in sharing their building, even on a temporary basis with the Coyotes. My guess is they would prefer that the Coyotes leave town. But there are a lot of hockey fans and the team has built a good fanbase. And with the right arena situation, they will be fine, better than fine, I think they'll be great. And at the end of the day, if there has to be a temporary accommodation, knowing that a new building is coming, this obviously can't be indefinite, I think they can create a terrific experience for people in a more intimate setting and it wouldn't be the first time that we were in a small, temporary facility pending the construction of a new arena. (A) long-winded way of saying is, this is a good market. This has been a franchise that has had its challenges, some of which are beyond its control. And as long as there is a commitment forthcoming for a new building, then it's going to be worth sticking with it."  

ASU will present this plan to the Arizona Board of Regents at their next meeting. According to the agenda, it will be presented at around 1:50 p.m. on the 10th.  

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