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Glendale goes nuclear on Arizona Coyotes

Sorry for the glamorous headline but there is no other way to explain it. Yesterday, the Glendale City Council scheduled a special meeting for today that could potentially cancel their two year old lease and operating agreement claiming that the Coyotes are in breach of their agreement. It appears the city council is citing Arizona State law 38.511:

The state, its political subdivisions or any department or agency of either may, within three years after its execution, cancel any contract, without penalty or further obligation, made by the state, its political subdivisions, or any of the departments or agencies of either if any person significantly involved in initiating, negotiating, securing, drafting or creating the contract on behalf of the state, its political subdivisions or any of the departments or agencies of either is, at any time while the contract or any extension of the contract is in effect, an employee or agent of any other party to the contract in any capacity or a consultant to any other party of the contract with respect to the subject matter of the contract.

City attorney Craig Tindall took a job with the Coyotes just a few months after he was let go by the City of Glendale. This is not the first time this has come up but details of his involvement in the original deal with IceArizona seems to be debatable.

Although there have been several rumblings for a couple weeks, most people chalked the chatter up to nothing more than political grand standing by Council Member Ian Hugh and it has been no secret that Mayor Weiers has been against this deal from the very beginning. The likely scenario is that Glendale would like to renegotiate their agreement with IceArizona but this certainly seems like a hostile approach. This seems to have caught the Coyotes ownership group off guard, having given this interview just 24 hours earlier as if everything is normal. The Coyotes then issued a press release shortly after the special meeting was announced that did not strike a particular collaborative tone.

“This is a blatant attempt to renege on a valid contract that was negotiated fairly and in good faith and in compliance with all laws and procedures. In the event the City Council initiates any action to revoke, repeal or otherwise rescind the agreement, the Coyotes will immediately take all actions available to them under the law against the City of Glendale.” – Nick Wood, of the Law Firm Snell & Wilmer, outside counsel for the Arizona Coyotes

What happens next is anyone’s guess. Regardless if the city rescinds the agreement, it would appear there is troubled relationship in Glendale. That will but more attention and focus on the 5 year out clause coming up after the 2018 season. If they do vote to cancel the agreement then a lot of things could happen. The most likely scenario is that the City and Ownership group negotiate a new agreement that keeps the team in Glendale. Of course another possibility is that the league could relocate the Coyotes to Quebec, Las Vegas, Portland or Seattle. Quebec and Las Vegas seems to be the more likely destinations as their arenas are in place.

John Barr
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