Ever since the Arizona Coyotes reached a new lease agreement with the city of Glendale -- an agreement that expires after the 2016-17 season -- speculation has run rampant that the team may return to Phoenix or relocate elsewhere in the Valley.
On Monday, the Coyotes confirmed those rumors.
During Monday's NHL Board of Governors meeting, Coyotes co-owner CEO and president Anthony LeBlanc said the team is "in very progressed talks with the city of Phoenix" about the creation of a joint arena with the Phoenix Suns, NHL.com's Dan Rosen wrote.
LeBlanc also noted the Coyotes' "tight alliance with Arizona State University," suggesting the possibility of a new facility in Tempe. ASU's top-tier hockey team moved up to the NCAA level this season and will play several of its home games at Glendale's Gila River Arena, the Coyotes' current home ice.
It's true, we're exploring new arenas. But read more than just the title. ? https://t.co/mgCI1BUotQ
— Yotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 8, 2015
The Coyotes played their home games at America West Arena (now Talking Stick Resort Arena), home of the Suns, from 1996-2003.
"LeBlanc said a move back to downtown Phoenix or to the East Valley, potentially Tempe, where Arizona State is located, would be 'positive across the board' for the Coyotes in terms of ticket sales, merchandise and the overall marketing and interest of the team," Rosen wrote.
The Coyotes' relationship with Glendale has been tumultuous, to say the least. In June, the city voted to cancel the team's lease due to an alleged breach of its terms. The Coyotes and city announced a resolution to their differences, including a revised lease agreement, in July.