The Arizona Coyotes are having yet another offseason that is focused on things happening off the ice instead of the product on the ice. The city of Glendale voted to break the leasing agreement with the Coyotes, which lead to the Coyotes filing for a temporary injunction to keep Glendale from voiding the leasing agreement. It was approved by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Friday and it looks like we have a long legal battle ahead of us.
The City of Glendale voted 5-2 in an emergency city council meeting on Wednesday to void the deal with the Coyotes. Speakers from both the organization, including CEO Anthony LeBlanc, and fans took the floor to share their opinions and try to sway the council to not vote in favor of breaking the leasing agreement.
- For more on the background of the City of Glendale’s decision, check out Cat Silverman’s article.
I caught up with Coyotes alternate captain/defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the phone to get his take on the mess that is happening right now between the team and the City of Glendale.
Sebastian Noren: What was your initial response when you heard about what the City of Glendale was doing?
Oliver Ekman-Larsson: Not again. We’ve been through so much the past couple of years, and now this happens. It’s disappointing and extremely frustrating that we have to go through something like this again.
SN: Yeah, this was supposed to be the first offseason in a long time when all the focus was to be on the team and the upcoming season, is it difficult to stay focused?
OEL: It’s difficult, because there’s nothing we players can do about this, we pretty much just have try and focus on our training now and get in shape for next season.
SN: Has the team been in contact with you yet?
OEL: No I haven’t heard anything yet, but my guess is that we will get an email here in the next few days explaining everything.
SN: What do you think about the fans that spoke up at the city council meeting?
OEL: I appreciate what they did a lot. The outpouring of support on social media has been tremendous and it shows that we have a lot of people that cares about us and the franchise.
SN: Do you feel unwelcomed by the City of Glendale?
OEL: Absolutely, it feels like getting a pie in the face. Everyone in the organization loves the arena and the area around it, so it feels bad that they [Glendale City Council] don’t want us there. It really sucks.
SN: If the worst case scenario happens and the team has to move away from Arizona, what are your feelings about that possibility?
OEL: I love it in Arizona and I don’t want to leave, it would be really sad if the team had to move. I think it would be even worse for the guys on the team that have families to think about.
SN: The team used to play in downtown Phoenix before you were drafted, how would you feel about playing downtown?
OEL: It would be better than leaving Arizona that’s for sure. But I hope that we will stay in Glendale. I’m not sure what they would do with an empty arena in Glendale and it would make it tough for the businesses at Westgate.
SN: Do you think that this situation will make it more difficult for the team to attract players on free agency?
OEL: Definitely. Especially if someone wants to sign a long-term deal, then the instability might play a factor in if they would want to join us.
SN: Anything you want to say to the fans?
OEL: I just want to thank them for being there for us and standing up and speaking their minds. It means a lot to us to have their support in all this and we are very grateful.