Coyotes 'Beyond Thrilled' to Move AHL Team to Tucson
/ Arizona Coyotes
The Tucson City Council voted, 7-0, on Tuesday night to approve a lease agreement between the Coyotes and the Tucson Convention Center, paving the way for the Coyotes to move their American Hockey League affiliate to Tucson for the 2016-17 season and beyond.
"Tucson is obviously the second largest market here in Arizona," said Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc, who attended the council vote in Tucson. "It's one that's a short two-hour drive from our NHL facility in Glendale. But most importantly, it's a market that we've been looking at since we bought the team three years ago. We've looked at the amount of hockey in this area. We've also looked at the number of people in the area that are buying Coyotes tickets and driving two hours, and it's tens of thousands of people every year. So we knew this was a market that can support hockey. We're just beyond thrilled to finally get this approved."
Last week, the AHL's Board of Governors granted approval for the Coyotes to buy the Springfield (Mass.) Falcons and relocate the team to Tucson, which is about 115 miles from the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The Tucson Convention Center can hold approximately 6,700 spectators for ice hockey.
The Coyotes are asking fans to name the AHL team, which will feature recent draft picks and other prospects who are hoping to earn jobs with the Coyotes at the NHL level. Fans can suggest names at www.arizonacoyotes.com/nameourAHLteam.
“This is a huge step for the whole organization," Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said. "I think our ownership group stepped up in a huge way. Moving the AHL team to Tucson really allows for integration and alignment of our entire organization, from top to bottom, at a whole other level.”
A press conference has been scheduled for Thursday, May 19 at noon at the Tucson Convention Center. LeBlanc, Chayka and Head Coach Dave Tippett are scheduled to attend.