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What Might Have Been In Tempe

As the hand wringing continues about Glendale’s investment in sports facilities there is an untold story of how the first domino in the form of a hockey arena might never have come to be. COG_Logo_Color

It’s a fascinating tale and one that would have taken a slice of Valley history through a different sliding door.

Following not one but two landslide elections in favor of locating an arena at Scottsdale and McDowell Roads voters probably expected their City Council to implement their wishes.  It was not to be with a disrespectful, divided council.

The situation created a fork in the road for the Phoenix Coyotes.  Stick it out in Scottsdale or explore other options in other cities.

Long before the long-shot overture of Glendale arrived Tempe was the first choice.  As envisioned ASU basketball would fuse with the Coyotes into a sparkling new arena in close proximity to Town Lake.  Meetings took place with top university and Tempe officials.

The deal would have been complicated, which made Glendale’s eventual offer of big money and generous entitlements attractive.

And the rest they say . . . is history.

Spring training and football stadiums would never have come to Glendale if not for the arena.  So when the Glendale haters keep looking to blame someone, blame Scottsdale.  Or Tempe.

  • Ellman had TWO extensions of the original deadlines to allow him to secure his financing to purchase the Coyotes. The original deadline was June 30, 2000 extended by Burke to December 31 of that same year. Ellman was having difficulties, supposedly, because the financing bank (Smittomo) wanted him to have more equity in the deal.

    The NHL and Burke then gave Ellman yet one more extension, until February 15, to consummate the deal. He does close then, but Scottsdale has had enough of his Los Arcos shenanigans by they so Ellman rode over to Glendale for a March 12 meeting with Scruggs and crew in Glendale.

    ASU ended up with Los Arcos, not the Coyotes.

    Ellman was traipsing all over the Valley with his plans in hand, Tempe was probably never a realistic alternative and the Pima-Salt RIver people weren’t interested, either.

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