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Arizona Coyotes select new arena location, mum on specifics

The Arizona Coyotes have selected a location for their new arena.

There weren’t further specifics announced by the team, but the hope is that could come in the next several weeks – by the end of the summer at the latest.

“We have made significant progress here in the last several weeks and we are down to a point where we have selected a site,” Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc said to reporters Thursday. “We anticipate getting that done over the next several weeks. I’m not putting a firm date, but we are moving forward with a site.”

LeBlanc said the earliest the team could move to the location is three years, which would mean it would still play those seasons in Glendale at Gila River Arena. LeBlanc said the Coyotes have held positive discussions with AEG, which manages the building, about extending their lease in the arena until their new building is complete.

“There’s no real rush because of the fact we already have this year’s lease, but we’ve had discussions with AEG about an extension and the word back is, 'let us know when you need it and we’ll get it wrapped,'” LeBlanc said. “We’re not worried about that at all.”

After the city of Glendale voided the team’s lease last summer, a new deal was reached for two seasons which started this season.

According to Arizona Sports, there have been a few different options for arena locations. LeBlanc had been most vocal about a joint venture with Arizona State University in the East Valley.

LeBlanc declined to provide many other details, or name the site, but the previously reported potential sites include one at the intersection of the 101 and 202 freeways just north of Tempe Marketplace, one on the campus of Arizona State University on its newly-created athletic district where Karsten Golf Course currently sits, one along the 101 corridor in Scottsdale —  across from Talking Stick Resort — and downtown, although Suns owner Robert Sarver is a major stumbling block to a Phoenix site

LeBlanc also noted that the arena would be a private/public partnership with the Coyotes putting up 50 percent of the funds.

“What we are going to be approaching this with is a concept of not looking for taxpayer dollars. Are we looking for some form of refund of sales taxes generated? Perhaps, those are the preliminary discussions we had with the state legislature a couple of months ago,” LeBlanc said. “It’s a very fluid situation, but what needed to happen was the site selection, which we have done and that allows us to move forward and start all these other ancillary things in a more progressed manner.” 

LeBlanc was careful to not place a timeline on a new arena announcement. In the past he had been bullish that a choice could happen quickly, perhaps as soon as before the NHL Draft on Friday evening. 

LeBlanc said the decision has taken longer because the total number of locations kept increasing.

The hope is to get something officially announced on the arena by the end of the summer.

“It’s a fair point that at this point we’re now focused on where we envision our long-term future to be in the Valley and that’s a good thing,” he said.  

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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