Coyotes could be forced to leave Glendale before Christmas over unpaid taxes, per reports

The Coyotes could be leaving Glendale sooner than expected.

The Athletic’s Katie Strang reported Wednesday that the club owes nearly $1.3 million in unpaid taxes and debts to the city and to the state of Arizona. She also reported that Glendale has instructed ASM, the company that manages the Coyotes’ home arena, Gila River Arena, to lock the Coyotes out of the building if the team doesn’t settle up by 5 p.m. MT on Dec. 20.

The Coyotes moved from Phoenix to Glendale in 2003. The franchise moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1996.

According to TSN’s Rick Westhead, the move to Glendale has been a financial disaster for the club and the NHL.

Financial shortcomings are nothing new with the Coyotes. The NHL owned the team from 2009-13 after a previous owner declared bankruptcy.

Earlier this year, Strang reported on claims of a toxic workplace around the Coyotes organization. She also chronicled major financial issues involving the team, including vendors allegedly not being paid.

The team was already slated to leave Glendale after the end of this season, after the city opted out of its joint lease agreement. It is not yet known whether the team will move somewhere else in Arizona or to a city outside the state. Last September, the team displayed renderings of a proposed arena and entertainment district in Tempe. 

The process could be expedited shortly before Christmas, though: the team’s first home game after the payment deadline is Dec. 23 against the Lightning.

The Coyotes have 10 days to file a written request for a hearing on the matter.

Strang reported that the neither Coyotes nor Glendale had responded to requests for comment.

Arizona had the worst record in the NHL (5-18-2) heading into Wednesday’s games. It is 2-7-1 at home, where it is averaging 12,205 tickets sold per game, per Hockey Reference. Gila River Arena seats 17,125 for hockey.

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