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NHL's Coyotes will soon seek a new home, but don't look for a Kansas City relocation

Kansas City Star logo Kansas City Star 10/27/2021 Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Any rumblings about movement of a major professional indoor sports team is noticed in Kansas City, the city with a beautiful facility — T-Mobile Center — but no team.

News broke Thursday that the Arizona Coyotes are playing their final NHL season in their Glendale arena. The team has been signing a series of one-year leases, and after 2021-22, the city, which owns Gila River Arena, will not renew.

The decision is revenue driven. The city believes more money can be made from concerts and other events in the arena than a hockey team. A consulting firm reported hockey-game attendees mostly spend money inside the arena while concertgoers spend more on retail and dining at the entertainment district around the arena.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas took to Twitter on Thursday to show his interest: #NHLtoKC time, he tweeted.

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But before Kansas City or any other NHL-less metropolitan area sends out invitations, know that the Coyotes say they're determined to remain in the Phoenix area and are seeking options there.

"The Coyotes are 100 percent committed to finding a long-term arena solution here in Arizona, and nothing will shake our determination to do what is right for our organization, residents of the entire Valley and, most important, our fans," said Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez.

Kansas City's antenna has been raised for NHL and NBA expansion or relocated teams. Last October, the city sent a letter to the NBA asking to be considered as a temporary home of the Toronto Raptors, who sought a temporary base in the United States because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. The team played in Tampa, Fla.

And there's always the Patrick Mahomes factor. He told The Kansas City Star last month he'd be interested in leading an ownership group for an NBA team. Would the NHL, if not now but in the future, hold the same appeal?

Kansas City often joins speculation lists for an NHL team, but it doesn't appear the Coyotes are a relocation candidate.


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