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Arizona Coyotes inching closer to relocation, Tempe votes against $1.7B new arena project

This could officially be the end of hockey in Arizona.

Things have officially taken a turn for the worst for the Arizona Coyotes, who still are without a home for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

The plan's for the city of Tempe to build a new arena are on thin ice.

The proposal, announced in September is a $1.7 billion arena and entertainment district in the heart of downtown Tempe, a city just east of Phoenix which is much more accessible than their current Glendale home at Gila River Arena.

The team said the arena would be funded by private investors, but would seek city sales tax revenues to help pay for $200 million in additional costs, including infrastructure work.

According to Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports, the Tempe city council is skeptical of approving the project due in part to the recent scandal around the Coyotes not paying their bills and taxes.

Currently, three members of the council are in favor, two are against it, and two are undecided and leaning towards voting no.

The Coyotes paid off their debts shortly after the story got widespread attention, and stated that it had been a result of "unfortunate human error" on their part.

What's next?

If the Coyotes are unable to get the arena project's approval in Tempe, this may be the end of hockey in the desert. The city of Glendale has opted out of a lease agreement for Gila River Arena and the Coyotes will need a new home in 2022-23.

The rumors have circulated that the Coyotes are up for sale with the intention of moving them to Houston, however the organization has denied all rumors.

“This is false," the team's statement read. "Totally false. We’re not selling. We’re not moving. The Coyotes are 100 per cent committed to playing in Arizona.”

The NHL has committed itself to hockey in the Arizona desert and has bailed the team out of bankruptcy already before. Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, has denied all rumors and has stated that the Coyotes will be staying in Arizona, however, the recent news has certainly made things more interesting.

According to Forbes, the Arizona Coyotes are the least expensive NHL franchise at $400 million.

Hockey in the desert has failed since Arizona got their team, their best option is to move to a more traditional hockey market.

You can find our top-6 potential relocation cities here