NHL Notebook: NHLPA ‘extremely concerned’ about Coyotes arena situation, and Oilers forward Corey Perry has pending grievance with Blackhawks over contract termination

Photo credit:Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
The Arizona Coyotes are officially on the hot seat.
After decades of tumultuous ownership and complicated situations surrounding their arena situations, NHLPA president Marty Walsh has dialled up the thermostat, saying he’s “extremely concerned” and “disappointed” with the franchise’s current state.
Locked out of Gila River Arena due to owed taxes by the City of Glendale, the Coyotes have spent the last two seasons playing out of Mullett Arena, a 4,600-seat arena where Arizona State University’s hockey team plays.
“I have serious concerns about Arizona,” said Walsh Friday during a media availability at the NHL All-Star game. “I’m extremely disappointed with the ownership of Arizona, with the president of Arizona (Xavier Gutierrez). They have not reached out to the NHLPA and talk to us about what the situation in Arizona is.
“You can buy a piece of land. How long will it take you to permit the land? Do you need a referendum? Is there hazardous waste, do you need to remediate the land? So you can talk about buying land in Arizona and it can be 10 years before a shovel goes in the ground.
“How long do you wait to get a home? They’re playing in a college arena and they’re the second tenant in that arena. This is not the way to run a business.”
The Coyotes’ contract with the University and their arena, one which houses the Sun Devils’ men’s and women’s hockey teams, women’s volleyball team, and men’s wrestling team, lasts through the 2024-25 season. The franchise had plans for a 16,000 seat facility and entertainment district to follow, but a referendum by Tempe residents voted no on the motion.
Walsh added there have been two deadlines already missed to move forward with an arena project.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, meanwhile, said he was “reasonably confident” in Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo to deliver on a promise of an NHL-level arena.

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Perry grievance pending

Edmonton Oilers forward Corey Perry has a pending grievance with the Chicago Blackhawks over the termination of his former contract.
On Friday, during a media availability at the NHL All-Star game, commissioner Gary Bettman said that while Perry has a pending grievance, it hasn’t been filed. Perry, Bettman added, believes the Blackhawks didn’t have proper grounds to terminate his contract.
Perry, 38, signed with the Oilers in January, months after Chicago terminated his contract after an “alcohol-fueled incident” at a team function. The Blackhawks moved swiftly, coming back with a decision to terminate the one-year, $4-million contract he had signed for this season. After, Perry sought help for his mental health and alcohol use.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, meanwhile, indicated during the press conference the NHL’s players association wants to appeal the decision. Now, according to the league’s collective barganing agreement, the union or Perry will have 60 days to do so.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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