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Arizona coyotes pay overdue bills to avoid eviction from arena | Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Arizona Coyotes are all taken by their bills. No eviction necessary.

The desert hockey team paid their taxes and other overdue bills on Thursday, a day after learning that the town of Glendale would lock down the Gila River Arena Coyotes if all unpaid debts owed to the town and the management company of the arena are not paid.

Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps sent a letter Wednesday advising the Coyotes they owed $ 1.3 million in taxes, including $ 250,000 to the city.

Phelps informed the Coyotes that the Arizona Department of Revenue has filed a tax lien notice for unpaid state and city taxes owed by IceArizona, the company that owns the Coyotes. Phelps also said in his letter that he asked ASM Global, which operates the Gila River Arena, not to allow Coyotes into the arena if bills are not paid by 5 p.m. on December 20.

The Coyotes released a statement Wednesday night saying the unpaid bills were an unfortunate human error and they would rectify the situation quickly. They did so on Thursday, avoiding what would have been a difficult turning point in the franchise’s long journey to find a permanent home.

When the Coyotes first left Winnipeg in 1996, the team shared the America West Arena with the NBA Phoenix Suns in downtown Phoenix. The team moved to Gila River Arena in 2003, but faced almost constant relocation rumors as the property changed hands.

Former owner Jerry Moyes bankrupted the Coyotes in 2009 and Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie made an offer to buy the team with the intention of moving them to Hamilton, Ont. The NHL, wanting to keep the team in Arizona, made a counter-offer and a Phoenix judge ruled the team couldn’t be sold to Balsillie to get around NHL relocation rules.

The NHL has led the Coyotes for four seasons and the financial constraints associated with that have taken their toll, leading in part to a seven-year playoff drought.

A new group of landlords brought new hope in 2013, but unrest surfaced again in 2015, when the town of Glendale voted to terminate a 15-year, $ 225 million rental agreement with the Coyotes for Gila River Arena.

Plans for a new arena shared with Arizona State University collapsed in 2017, and the future of the franchise in the Phoenix area continued to remain uncertain.

Andrew Barroway gave the Coyotes a bit more financial flexibility when he bought a controlling stake in the team in 2017, but he sold the team to current owner Alex Meruelo, who said he plans to keep the team. franchise in the Phoenix area.

The Coyotes lease the Gila River Arena on an annual basis, but Glendale has announced that it will not renew its deal with the franchise beyond the 2021-22 season.

The team have submitted an offer for a plot of land in the suburb of Tempe in what could be their first step in finally finding permanent housing.


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