It’s no secret that the Arizona Coyotes have a history of money issues, and these latest unpaid taxes are just another example of the deep issues in this organization. If you have been living under a rock in December, or just don’t follow hockey news too closely, let me fill you in on the latest situation. On December 8th, 2021, a report came out saying that the Arizona Coyotes were threatened with being locked out of their home arena, Gila River Arena, by the city of Glendale for unpaid arena charges as well 1.3 million dollars of unpaid state and city taxes. The Coyotes came forward and issued a statement saying “ We have already launched an investigation to determine how this could have happened and initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error. Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure that by tomorrow morning the Arizona Coyotes are current on all our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.”
Since this information has come out, the Coyotes have paid their taxes, and will not be locked out of the Glendale Arena. However this whole situation raises concerns for loyal Arizona sports fans such as myself. This is not the first time the Coyotes have been reported to be late on payments; back in September of 2020, reports of the Coyotes paying players their bonuses late came out and further pushed the narrative that the Coyotes are a dysfunctional organization. When looking at these examples, it’s not hard to understand why many hockey fans believe the Coyotes will not be in Arizona long term, and that the team will find a new home. Rumors have linked the Coyotes to places like Quebec, Omaha, and the most likely candidate, Houston. However, the NHL doesn’t seem all too interested in moving the team, following a statement from NHL Commissioner Garry Bettman.
As a Passionate Coyotes fan, it was very hard to look at what other hockey fans were saying about my team, however, I understand why others want to see the downfall of the Coyotes. From the outside looking in, you could say that Arizona is not a good market for hockey. But if you ask me, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When looking at the greater Phoenix area, you’d see that population-wise, we are the sixth largest city in America, which is reason enough to have a team located there. As well, if you take a small sample size, such as the 2021 NBA Playoffs, you will see the passion Arizona sports fans truly have. Hockey has not grown in Arizona because it has not been presented properly to the fans. If Arizona had a strong playoff-contending team, an arena not so far from their ideal market, and no stories of financial trouble, I feel like fans would rally around the team, and I think the Coyotes deserve the chance to complete their rebuild, get a new arena in Tempe, and build up this amazing franchise.