The Arizona Coyotes will not be locked out of their arena later this month.
Following a report on Wednesday night that the team was at risk of losing access to Gila River Arena because of more than $1.3 million in unpaid city and state taxes, Arizona has since come current on all bills and tax liabilities.
The city of Glendale informed the Coyotes they would bar team employees and vendors from their venue if the Coyotes did not pay the $250,000 in outstanding city taxes by Dec. 20. A notice was also sent to ASM Global, the Gila Arena Management company, and Coyotes’ CEO and team president Xavier Gutierrez about the cancellation of the team’s business license.
Sources previously confirmed to ESPN that the Arizona Department of Revenue had filed a tax lien against IceArizona Hockey, which owns the Coyotes, earlier this month because of their overdue bills.
The Coyotes issued a statement late local time on Wednesday that blamed “human error” for the accounting issues.
“We have already launched an investigation to determine how this could have happened and the initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error,” the statement read. “Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure by tomorrow morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.”
While the Coyotes can stay put for now, they are still in the market for a new home. Last August, they were told that the city of Glendale was opting out of its lease agreement with the team at the end of this NHL season. Negotiations between the sides had been ongoing on a potential extension, but nothing was finalized and either side had the option to exit the deal.
Arizona has been eyeing a potential shift to Tempe, but that project is under strain. The Arizona Republic first reported in September that the Coyotes had made a $1.7 billion development proposal that would include building a new hockey arena and entertainment district. The city of Tempe was still reviewing the Coyotes’ proposal when news of the team’s financial issues came out Wednesday and it did not comment on whether those revelations would impact their process.
Additionally, airport officials in Arizona raised concerns last month about the Coyotes’ development plans being too close to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and how the property lines up with two of the airport’s busiest runways.
Coyotes’ officials have since fired back that their plans would not have any impact on the aviation hub.