The Arizona Coyotes are a hockey team without a home after the Glendale City Council votes to void its 15-year contract with the team just two years into the deal.
Mayor Jerry Weiers told Capitol Media Services in Phoenix conflict-of-interest provisions were violated when a former city attorney when to work for the Coyotes.
The city council voted, 5-2, Wednesday to cancel its arena lease agreement with the team. Team officials have filed for injunctive relief and a temporary restraining order, and will file a $200 million lawsuit against the city.
“The citizens of Glendale should be very concerned about the government that they have leading them right now, because this was not appropriate,” Anthony LeBlanc, co-owner, president and CEO of the Arizona Coyotes, said on the team’s website.
LeBlanc said he didn’t want to viewed as “just a bunch of people that are looking to take legal action.” He said the Coyotes were “wrong … by a group that is acting in incredibly bad faith.”
“Our view is the team will remain here, but the city is not acting in a business friendly way and should be ashamed,” LeBlanc said.
But while ownership sues the city of Glendale, that leaves the question of whether the Arizona Coyotes, unable to play in Glendale, will pack up and go elsewhere, including 300 miles north to Las Vegas.
MGM Arena is still under construction, but there is the Thomas and Mack Center and MGM Grand Garden Arena that could host NHL games. Plan B is to have the Coyotes share the US Airways Center with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns next season in downtown Phoenix.
The effort to bring an expansion or relocate a franchise to Las Vegas has been led by businessman Bill Foley of Las Vegas. Foley leads an investor group that has collected more than 13,000 ticket deposits toward starting a new NHL franchise in Las Vegas.
He has also struck a deal with the partnership of MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group to have a hockey team play in the new MGM-AEG arena. The facility is being built on the Strip in between the Monte Carlo and New York New York resorts.
Alan Snel, sports business reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal
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