Arena Situation for Arizona Coyotes With New CEO
Gutierrez replied that when he talked to new owner Alex Meruelo about that he was told the arena situation would not be his top five concerns, but his Top 10! In other words, now that Meruelo has his man in charge, things can move forward with how to handle where the Coyotes will skate in future years.
One other thing he made perfectly clear was that the team is NOT going anywhere. He has relocated to the Phoenix area and made it clear that the team is here to stay. All options including even staying at Gila River Arena are on the table at this point. Owner Alex Meruelo said he hopes is to have something arena-related announced by the end of this year.
Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected this as well. Meruelo told Matt Layman of arizonasports.com, “If it wasn’t for what happened with COVID, we’d be so much further ahead.” Meruelo said. “It’s really set us back at least six to nine months. I still hope and I plan, with Xavier’s help — Xavier is very good at this — we’d like to get something announced by the end of the year.”
Gutierrez responded, “Clearly, there’s been conversations pre-dating me about what is the best option,” Gutierrez said. “I’m very new. I’m going to look at everything. Obviously, I’m going to take the lead on this. But clearly, Mr. Meruelo also has his perspective that we would like to pursue a solution that’s long-term, that’s financially stable and that makes sense for our team, for our players, for our fans and for this entire community.”
Is Gutierrez the Right Man For the Job?
On paper, it seems that Gutierrez has the qualifications for the job. He’s a Harvard and Stanford graduate and has an extensive background in business and investments. He and Meruelo have worked together with Gutierrez working for Meruelo’s group.
That familiarity will allow a good partnership in leading the Coyotes to a new level of leadership. He envisions using technology and digital platforms. Gutierrez sees a blend of sports, media, entertainment and technology and is already bringing in a team to handle that.
He realizes that the fanbase needs to expand and that includes bringing in new fans from the Latino community. If a new arena were to be planned, it must be filled with enthusiastic fans to make the franchise successful.
Gutierrez has a huge job ahead of him on planning a new arena or even staying in Glendale, which may not be an option. The team is currently signing a one-year lease and that has got to get old. The location of Gila River Arena seems to be the largest fault of continuing to play there.
There’s no doubt that the east valley is the primary location to build a new facility. Adding Gutierrez’s expertise to get that done seems to be a smart business decision. Both men are passionate about bringing a Cup to the desert.
Now, with the team assembled it would seem that once this pandemic is over it can be full-speed ahead in getting it done.
To introduce himself to the fans, Gutierrez appeared on the popular local radio show, “Doug and Wolf” to explain his new role with the team and how he sees the future for a new arena.