Ice on the diamond? Coyotes may find temporary home on D-Backs’ land
The National Hockey League has proven that Major League Baseball stadium games can work. Its Stadium Series has previously hosted games at Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium and Denver’s Coors Field. Earlier, the Tampa Bay Lightning played three seasons at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays.
So while it may be odd to imagine the Arizona Coyotes playing at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, it’s not impossible. In fact, the Arizona Republic has learned that it is being considered an option for the Coyotes as a temporary home in the near future.
The MLB club are free to make a deal with the Coyotes, with the intention of hosting events at Chase Field, without input from the Maricopa County Stadium District. The Diamondbacks take care of reservations and maintenance of the stadium under an agreement between the two parties.
The Diamondbacks’ 2022 schedule is set, and after that, an Elton John concert and a potential date for the annual college football game at Chase Field. Other dates at the stadium could include events related to Super Bowl LVII and the return of the World Baseball Classic postponed by COVID to early 2023. All of this would take place during the NHL season, which would essentially exclude the stadium. baseball as a hockey venue in 2022-23.
The Coyotes need one or more places to play from the start of the 2022-23 season and at least a few more thereafter, unless the strained relationship between the team and the City of Glendale changes. negotiations on a short-term lease to stay at Gila River Arena beyond the end of next April.
As it stands, the Coyotes will play the final four months of the regular season at Glendale, then move to another facility. They have said on several occasions that they want to stay in the greater Phoenix area, but options are limited as to where they can play.
Meanwhile, the new arena and entertainment district proposed by the Coyotes in Tempe have yet to be approved, and anyone can guess how long this project could take.
Temporary relocation options vary. Those often mentioned include the new multi-purpose arena at Arizona State Tempe Campus, the small arenas in Prescott Valley and / or Tucson, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Phoenix and Chase State Fairgrounds. Field.
All of those facilities would need upgrades and improvements to become NHL-ready, costs the Coyotes would incur at least to some extent, if not all. And with Chase Field unlikely to be available next season, the team needs a place to play in the first season outside of Gila River Arena.
The most significant cost involving Chase Field miniatures is the installation and maintenance of an ice rink for games. If the Diamondbacks didn’t make the playoffs in October, the Coyotes, with a return to a normal NHL regular-season schedule, could start playing that month.
In April, at the start of the Diamondbacks season and the end of hockey, the Coyotes could end the regular season on a long road trip.
The NHL did not specifically respond to questions about the feasibility of using Chase Field to temporarily house the Coyotes, who have repeatedly said they have pledged to stay in Arizona. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman indicated that would be the case at the league’s board of governors meeting on December 10.
“The Coyotes aren’t going anywhere. They go somewhere other than Glendale, but they don’t leave the greater Phoenix area, ”Bettman said. “There are a lot of options, and my advice was, let’s focus on the plan for the building that’s going to come. There are a lot of options to deal with on an interim basis. I don’t want to go into it now and start having comparative speculative stories. We’ll deal with that. I’m not concerned. There are options that will work. “
Contact Jose Romero at Jose.Romero@gannett.com. Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM.