Coyotes Resolve Legal Dispute

The Arizona Coyotes and the city of Glendale have agreed to amend an existing lease agreement, which could end an ongoing legal battle between the two sides that raised questions about the team’s long-term future in Glendale.

The City Council will vote on the amendments to the 15-year, $225 million lease for Gila River Arena during a meeting on Friday.

Details of the amendments were expected to be released later Thursday.

“This decision will bring much-needed certainty to our fans and sponsors about our near-term future and an end to the uncertainty brought about through this legal action,” Coyotes co-owner and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said in a statement. “We know that hockey works in the Valley and we are committed to Arizona for the long-term.

The lease agreement was signed in 2013, not long after IceArizona purchased the team from the NHL.

The City Council voted June 10 to terminate the agreement with the Coyotes, citing a conflict-of-interest law involving two Glendale employees who later went on to work for the Coyotes.

A judge granted the Coyotes’ request for a temporary restraining order two days later. A judge also ordered the city to make its $3.75 million payment to the team on June 29 and the Coyotes to increase their bond payment to Glendale by $750,000 to $1 million.

“This revised agreement represents a positive outcome for both the city and the Coyotes,” Glendale acting city manager Dick Bowers said in a statement. “It also allows us to move forward in a way that keeps an important economic driver in our community. That’s important for business and it’s important to our citizens.”

The Coyotes have faced an uncertain future since former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in 2009. The team was operated by the NHL for four seasons before IceArizona, headed by LeBlanc and George Gosbee, purchased the team.

IceArizona sold a 51 percent stake in the team to Philadelphia hedge fund manager Andrew Barroway last year, a move designed to strengthen the team’s financial footing.

Glendale’s City Council put the Coyotes’ future in doubt again with its vote to dissolve the lease agreement last month. The council cited an Arizona statute that allows a government entity to end an agreement if a person who worked on the deal later represents the other party. Former city attorney Craig Tindall is now the Coyotes general counsel and former Glendale communications director Julie Frisoni did consulting work for the team after leaving the city.