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The Arizona Coyotes uncertain home and winning struggles loom as 2023-24 season approaches

© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes have faced many uncertainties in their attempts to find a permanent home in Arizona. After playing nearly 20 years at Gila River Arena in Glendale, the city concluded its lease with the NHL team. With the uncertainty of nailing down a home arena and the lingering possibility of transferring the team to another state, can the Coyotes put all the noise behind them before the 2023–24 season starts?

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More is at stake for the Coyotes than just finding a new home. Head coach André Tourigny has not had a winning season with the team yet, their last one being during the 2019–20 season.

After finishing 28–40 last year, with 15 of those losses taking place at home, the team will need to find a way to put the woes of finding a permanent home behind them and focus on their 2023–24 season.

Since the 2011–12 season, the Arizona Coyotes have had only five winning seasons. Their two best seasons in the last 12 years were the 2011–12 and 2019–20 seasons.

  • During the 2011–12 season, the Coyotes finished with a record of 42 wins, 27 losses, and 13 overtime losses, earning them 97 points and a Pacific Division title. They advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Kings 4–1, who would go on to win the Stanley Cup that year.
  • In their 2019–20 season, the Coyotes finished with a record of 33 wins, 29 losses, and 8 overtime losses, earning them 74 points and a ticket to the Western Conference playoffs as an 11th seed to advance to the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. They were eliminated in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche 4–1.

With 24-year-old Clayton Keller taking on the role of the Coyotes’ leading man, scoring 37 goals, 21 assists, and accounting for 86 of the team’s points last season, the team will have to find more ways to involve other players in scoring.

Lawson Crouse, a seven-year veteran for the Yotes, is a solid number two behind Keller. Last season with the Coyotes, Crouse logged 24 goals, 21 assists, and 45 points, marking a career-best season for him.

Arizona recently signed 10-year veteran Matt Dumba from the Minnesota Wild, who will hopefully bring an uplifting presence to the team. Dumba is coming off a below-average season of only four goals scored, his lowest since his rookie season, but stepped it up on the defensive end, recording 116 blocks, his highest in his career.

A possible contributing factor to the team’s less than impressive 2022–23 season, the Coyotes competed in their inaugural games at what is now the smallest NHL venue, Mullett Arena, a 5,000-seat venue located at Arizona State University. The Coyotes entered into an agreement with Arizona State that secures them at Mullet Arena for two more years with an option to pick up their third for the 2025–26 season.

In an attempt to find land in Tempe, the Coyotes proposed a $2.1 billion plan to bring in a new entertainment district, including a brand new NHL arena and surrounding luxury apartments. In May, Tempe voters rejected their proposal.

With no long-term home and temptations luring from Salt Lake City, Houston, Atlanta, and Kansas City to move the team out of Arizona, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is still committed to working towards keeping the Coyotes in Arizona.

In addition to support from Bettman, Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has promoted a letter of intent to buy out land in Mesa if it is what it will take to keep the Coyotes local.

In a statement released by the Coyotes, they stated that “We can confirm that Coyotes owner, chairman, and governor Alex Meruelo has executed a Letter of Intent to purchase a parcel of land located in Mesa, Arizona, to be the potential site for a sports arena and entertainment district for the club.”

It was reported that Meruelo has his eyes on 41 acres of land in northwest Mesa near Alma School Road and Loop 202.

“The Coyotes remain committed to building the first privately funded sports facility in Arizona history and ensuring the Valley as the Club’s permanent home,” the Coyotes’ statement said

Coyotes Fans React To Tough News About Not Being Approved For Tempe Stadium

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Taylyn Hadley is a sports and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow her on X via @TAYLYNH11.

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