NHL’s Coyotes vow to clear debts after threat of being barred from home arena

The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes have vowed to pay off debts today after being threatened with being barred from their Gila River Arena home later this month.

Officials from the City of Glendale on Wednesday informed the Coyotes that it intended to lock the team out of the venue on December 20, if all outstanding amounts the team owes the city and arena operator ASM Global are not paid by then.

According to the AZ Central news website, the Coyotes have been warned that Arizona Department of Revenue has filed a Notice of State Tax Lien for unpaid taxes owed by IceArizona, the Coyotes’ ownership company, amounting to $1.3m. In a letter to Coyotes president and chief executive Xavier A. Gutierrez, Glendale City manager Kevin Phelps said there is also an unpaid balance from the 2020-21 season due to ASM Global.

Phelps wrote that he instructed ASM Global to keep the Coyotes out of the 18,000-capacity Gila River Arena if the taxes and back rent are not paid in full by 5pm on December 20. The city intended to cancel the business license for IceArizona, which the team was informed of via a separate letter.

According to the AZ Central news website, the Coyotes said in a statement: “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 (Thursday) morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxed whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can every possibly happen again.”

According to AZ Central, the Coyotes were informed in August that the city intended to end negotiations on a new lease agreement between the two parties. A city-commissioned report showed that events such as concerts at Gila River Arena bring in significantly more revenue for the city than Coyotes games.

In response, the Coyotes revealed plans for a $1.7bn (£1.2bn/€1.4bn) development in the city of Tempe, with the wide-ranging project to be anchored by an arena that would seat around 16,000 fans.

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