Arizona Coyotes Avoid Eviction at Home Arena After Paying $1.3M in Back Bills

The Arizona Coyotes hockey team avoided a possible eviction Thursday after paying back $1.3 million in overdue bills. The team was notified just the day before that the city of Glendale would oust them from the Gila River Arena if they didn't pay what they owed.

The NHL team owed the $1.3 million to their arena management company and Glendale. It had to meet a Dec. 20 deadline to pay their dues, or be evicted from their home arena.

The team released a statement Wednesday night claiming they did not know the whole reasoning behind the accrued debt but have started an investigation to see where the team went wrong.

"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 team statement said.

"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," the Coyotes' team statement said.

According to The Athletic, a letter from Kevin Phelps, Glendale city manager was sent to the Coyotes on Wednesday informing the team that they owed the $1.3 million, including a $250,000 debt to the city.

The city of Glendale also informed the Coyotes that they would be locked out of their home area, the Gila River Arena, on Dec. 20 if they failed to pay all of their outstanding debts to the management company for the arena, and the city.

The Coyotes have played at the Gila River Arena since their 2003 season and currently hold eighth place in the Central Division in the Western Conference of the NHL.

Arizona Coyotes
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka (70) makes a save on Vegas Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. The Arizona Coyote hockey team owed $1.3 million in debt to their arena management company and the city of Glendale and faced a Dec. 20 deadline to pay their dues or be evicted from their home arena. Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Phelps informed the Coyotes that the Arizona Department of Revenue had filed a notice of tax lien for unpaid state and city taxes owned by IceArizona, the Coyotes' ownership company. Phelps also said in his letter that he had instructed ASM Global, which manages Gila River Arena, to not allow the Coyotes in the arena if the bills were not paid by 5 p.m. on Dec. 20.

The Coyotes have been leasing Gila River Arena on an annual basis since the Glendale City Council voted to opt out of a multimillion-dollar long-term deal in 2016. The city has announced it will not renew its agreement with the franchise beyond the 2021-22 season.

The team has submitted a bid for a tract of land in Tempe in what could be its first step in landing a permanent home.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.