TORONTO (AP) — Midway through their second season in a 5,000-seat arena, the Arizona Coyotes I still don’t have a concrete plan. for a long term home.
While NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expressed optimism that owner Alex Meruelo would do something to keep the team in the Phoenix area, Players’ Association CEO Marty Walsh , expressed his concern.
“Unfortunately, we had two unofficial deadlines to make progress and we passed them,” Walsh said Friday during All-Star Weekend. “If there is no plan in Arizona, I would absolutely encourage a move to another location.”
The NHL worked to keep the Coyotes in the area through multiple ownership changes and a game of musical rinks that brought them to the Arizona State campus in Tempe. They have an agreement to play at Mullett Arena for the 2024-25 season with a possible extension, but player complaints about the situation make it clear the league and union want an alternative.
Time is running out to get there.
“The next deadline for me is tomorrow,” Walsh said. “Snow. It’s now.
Bettman said he was not in the business of contradicting the owners and that he trusted Meruelo.
“Alex Meruelo, just last week, told me he was sure he was going to make it,” Bettman said. “I am both hopeful and reasonably confident that he will do what he says.”
After Tempe voters rejected an in-arena referendum last year, the Coyotes announced in June that they had identified six possible sites this would not need approval and said in August that Meruelo had signed a letter of intent to purchase land for a potential arena in Mesa. Bettman said Meruelo is focused on one property and the league is focused on it with him.
The Coyotes’ instability comes amid significant interest from owners of the NBA’s Utah Jazz to put an NHL team in Salt Lake City. Bettman said Ryan Smith and his group were “very excited about the possibility.”
“If Utah is the place to be, Utah is the place to be,” Walsh said. “But I would encourage it. I haven’t seen the data to confirm whether Utah is the ideal location. I’m sure the league has information on markets that are working really well. I know Utah is a growing area…a lot of people are going there. It could be another (Vegas) Golden Knights or a Seattle Kraken.
The NHL has extended the deadline for Corey Perry and the union to decide whether to file a grievance against the Chicago Blackhawks for terminating his contract. The team placed Perry on unconditional waivers and terminated his contract in late November after reporting unacceptable conduct that violated his contract and club policies.
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said a grievance had been “threatened”. Walsh said talks with Perry’s camp were ongoing, hence the 60-day window was extended.
“We’re having these conversations internally right now about how to proceed,” Walsh said. “The deadline had passed, so we wanted to make sure we had time to move forward, in terms of filing a grievance. »
Bettman, who met Perry after the veteran winger said he seeking help for alcohol abuse, said he had no problem with the way the Blackhawks handled the situation. Perry has since signed with Edmonton and is expected to play for the Oilers after the All-Star break.
In addition to announce an agreement To send players to the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Games, the NHL unveiled on Friday the “4 nations confrontation” which will take place in February 2025 and involving the United States, Canada, Sweden and Finland. Each team will play three round-robin matches, taking place in one city in each country, with the top two qualifying for a one-match final.
Lacking time to develop something bigger, it was the solution to put international matches on the calendar before the next Olympic Games in Milan, with the aim of organizing the next Hockey World Cup in 2028.
“The idea was to do a little bit of international competition as an appetizer,” Bettman said. “We wanted to do something, but we couldn’t prepare in a year for a full-fledged World Cup. This gets us started and puts us on a schedule that I think everyone is not only excited about, but really comfortable with.
The mini-tournament will miss the German Leon Draisaitl, the Czech David Pastrnak, the Swiss Roman Josi and all the Russian players in a league which has many. Russia’s war in Ukraine has complicated projectswhich was originally scheduled to host a World Cup this month.
“I think we’ve been pretty open that we don’t condone or support aggression in Ukraine, but we support our Russian players and we certainly don’t hold what’s happening geopolitically against our individual Russian players,” he said. Daly said. said. “But we thought, given the totality of the circumstances, where the IOC is and where the IIHF is, it was probably not the right time to include the Russians in a team.”
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