The Arizona Coyotes might be without a home arena in a couple weeks.
According to a report from The Athletic’s Katie Strang, the City of Glendale is warning the Coyotes that they might be kicked out of the Gila River Arena, due to delinquent tax bills and unpaid arena charges.
Earlier this month, on Dec. 3, the Arizona Department of Revenue reportedly filed a tax lien notice seeking $1.3 million in unpaid state and city taxes from the company that owns the Coyotes, IceArizona Hockey LLC. Per Strang, The local government has already cancelled the team’s business license and notified arena management and Coyotes team president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez.
According to the notice, the Coyotes owe taxes that date back to June 2020.
The city is giving the team until 5:00 p.m. local time on Dec. 20 to pay the outstanding arena invoices, as well as approximately $250,000 that is owed in city taxes. If they do not do so, team employees and arena staff will not be allowed entry into the arena.
Kevin Phelps, a City of Glendale manager, notified NHL commissioner Gary Bettman of the financial issue on Wednesday.
This significant matter is just the latest in a string of off-ice financial and front-office issues that the Arizona franchise has gone through. In February, The Athletic reported on multiple problems with the internal structure of the organization, as well as unpaid invoices from vendors — there seems to be a theme here.
Whether this will be the final blow for the franchise’s existence in the desert — a team that has been rumoured to move to either Quebec City or Houston for more than a decade now — is still to be seen, but this is certainly more than a little speed bump.
The Coyotes sit right at the bottom of the NHL with a 5-18-2 record.
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