NHL Commissioner speaks in support of Tempe sports complex

The vote for the new Tempe arena complex is coming up soon. The team's owner won't commit the team to stay in Arizona when asked, citing Monday's voting.
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 10:54 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 13, 2023 at 5:58 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -- Proponents of Prop 301, 302, and 303, which would help remove a landfill next to Tempe Town Lake in an effort to help create a Tempe Sports and Entertainment District, are gaining the support of the NHL commissioner himself.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined former Arizona Coyotes captain and current chief hockey development officer Shane Doan, Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez, Tempe Councilwoman Berdetta Hodge, and community leader Tim O’Neal to voice support for the massive project.

“Nobody can doubt the NHL’s commitment to Arizona. Why? Because we believe this is a place that hockey should be,” said Bettman. ”Being in Tempe is the answer to all of these issues we’ve seen over the seen over the years.” Bettman traveled to Arizona to voice support for the proposed Tempe Sports and Entertainment District, which would include a new arena for the Coyotes. “Once this project is built, this team is never going anywhere,” Bettman said. “It’s going to be here forever.”

While the news conference was originally scheduled for a Goodwill store near the proposed development site, Arizona’s Family learned that the news conference was moved due to someone writing “Vote No” on chalk in the parking lot. That prompted officials, who called it vandalism and called the police, to change locations for the press conference to the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.

Supporters of the Tempe entertainment district that'll be home to the Arizona Coyotes held a special meeting to reach out to voters and explain the details.

Supporters, including the City of Tempe, say the new stadium would provide more than $690 million in economic support. The Coyotes have a three-year deal to share Arizona State’s 5,000-seat Mullett Arena and have worked with the city of Tempe to build the entertainment district. The development is set to go to referendum next month, but it hit a snag when the city of Phoenix and Sky Harbor International Airport asked in a legal filing that the entertainment district not include multifamily housing due to noise issues under airport flight paths.

The Coyotes and owner Alex Meruelo countered by filing a $2.3 billion notice of claim against the city of Phoenix for alleged breach of contract. “This development is going to enhance the community,” Bettman said. “It’s going to create jobs. It’s going to create a greater identity than Tempe already has. It’s something the Coyotes need. Frankly, I’m having trouble understanding what the downside of it is.” Click/tap here to learn more about each proposition.