Following their failed attempt to build a new arena and entertainment district in Tempe, the Arizona Coyotes have set their sights on another city. On Wednesday, the Coyotes announced that owner Alex Meruelo has turned to Mesa in hopes of finding a permanent home in Arizona.
Back in May, Tempe voters rejected the Coyotes' proposition to build a new arena, entertainment district, and residential housing in the area. The franchise had to go back to the drawing board in order to find a long-term solution in Arizona, and it seems like Meruelo has identified Mesa as a possible landing spot.
In its official announcement, the team revealed that Meruelo has "executed a Letter of Intent to purchase a parcel of land located in Mesa, Arizona." The Coyotes made it very clear that their aim is to keep the franchise in Arizona permanently, despite rumors that the franchise could face relocation in the next few years.
"We appreciate the tremendous support that we have received from many communities, elected officials, and community leaders who have expressed their desire to see the Coyotes remain in the Valley permanently," the team said in its statement. "We would also like to thank NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly for their steadfast support of the Club's efforts to find a permanent arena solution, and for their recognition that Arizona is a tremendous hockey market."
The team did add that it will "continue to explore other potential sites in the East Valley."
For now, the Coyotes are sharing Mullett Arena with Arizona State University's hockey program. Following the 2021-22 season, when Arizona lost Gila River Arena, the team signed a deal with Arizona State to play at Mullett Arena through at least the 2024-25 season. The Coyotes also have an option to stay there for the 2025-26 season.
The Coyotes have upgraded their roster this offseason, with additions like Sean Durzi, Jason Zucker, Alexander Kerfoot, and Matt Dumba. As they try to climb out of the NHL's basement, the Coyotes will keep searching for some stability in the desert.