The open war between the city of Glendale, Ariz., and the Arizona Coyotes continued Tuesday, as the municipality’s executives met and chose to press on in its legal battle over an arena lease with the NHL franchise.
Glendale city council held an executive session Tuesday and decided to continue its showdown against Coyotes ownership over its 15-year, $225-million lease with Gila River Arena. Glendale politicians voted last week to void the lease, prompting a harsh reaction from the team and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. But Glendale officials maintain they wish to keep the franchise in the building.
“This isn’t about hockey,” Glendale interim assistant city manager Tom Duensing said in a statement. “We want the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale and we want them to succeed. As we’ve consistently indicated to the team, we are prepared to negotiate a mutually beneficial approach to address concerns.
“This issue is about the law and the process and to ensure the law is followed.”
Following Glendale’s decision to void the arena lease, the Coyotes launched a lawsuit against the municipality and was granted a temporary restraining order against the city. Following Tuesday’s announcement from Glendale officials, the Coyotes issued a short statement in reply.
“We expect the City of Glendale to honor its contractual commitments,” the team said. “We intend to continue to honor ours.”
Duensing said the city’s position is justified and court proceedings will prove it.
“We continue to believe in the strength of our case which is rooted in facts,” Duensing said. “Over time, those facts will come out. But they’ll only come out in the appropriate venue, and that’s a court of law. Please know, we have not and will not litigate this case in the media.”