PHOENIX — Downtown Phoenix is one step closer to hosting a hockey team once again.
City council-members approved $75,000 for Barrett Sports Group to evaluate Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix and determine what it would look like to host a hockey team there.
Councilman Michael Nowakowski brought up the idea of moving the Coyotes to downtown Phoenix at the Feb. 15 city council meeting.
He said he wants the consulting group to see what it would cost to move a hockey team downtown, including remodeling and updating the arena.
But not everyone, such as Councilman Jim Waring, was on board with the idea.
“I don’t think we should be looking at this at all,” Waring said, according to KJZZ. “The hockey team has an arena on the west side. I think it’s throwing our sister city a little bit under the bus for us to be doing this and I just don’t think we should be spending $75,000 on this.”
A home for the Arizona Coyotes has been up in the air after Arizona State University pulled out of a deal in February that would have brought the team to Tempe.
But an Arizona Senate committee passed a bill on Feb. 14 that would help fund a $395 million arena for the team.
Talking Stick Resort Arena, which now houses the Phoenix Suns, housed the Arizona Coyotes in 1996, when it was known as the America West Arena.
The Coyotes moved to Glendale in 2003, where they currently play out of Gila River Arena. But the team’s future in the arena came to a screeching halt when the city cancelled its lease agreement with the team in 2015.
Arizona Sports reported that the news of the lease agreement cancellation “should come as no surprise for fans who have endured conflicts between the city and ownership ever since former owner Jerry Moyes drove the team into bankruptcy in 2009.”
At the time, the Coyotes were one of the worst teams in the NHL and had an average of just 13,345 fans per home game.