Arizona Coyotes and ASU Announce Partnership


The Arizona Coyotes and Arizona State University held a joint press conference to announce a partnership between the two organizations on Wednesday.

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ASU will play four of their 2015-16 season games at Gila River Arena. There will also be an additional two NCAA hockey games played at Gila River.

This partnership comes just before the Sun Devil hockey team enters their first season as a NCAA Division I team. ASU has been playing their games at Oceanside Ice Arena, but it’s old and not a great fit for NCAA DI hockey. Oceanside has been undergoing renovations, but ASU has decided to play some of their bigger games in Glendale.

For the Coyotes, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. When IceArizona took over ownership of the Coyotes, President and CEO, Anthony LeBlanc, stated that the ownership group would do what they could to grow the sport of hockey in Arizona. This partnership is another step toward that goal.

Here’s what Athletic Director, Ray Anderson, had to say about the partnership with the Coyotes during the press conference,

"“The Phoenix community has embraced Sun Devil Hockey with open arms and the Arizona Coyotes are great ambassadors for the sport of ice hockey in the Valley. The partnership between Sun Devil Athletics and the Arizona Coyotes gives our student-athletes the experience of competing in a top-tier NHL facility in Gila River Arena, and the partnership also provides immense exposure for the growth and development for the sport of hockey at all levels in Arizona and on the west coast.”"

Sun Devils Head Coach, Greg Powers, was on hand at the press conference and is looking forward to the partnership as well. He added a few comments of his own,

"“I think it helps legitimize what we’re doing here. To have access to one of the best facilities in the world for our players to play in is a special opportunity. We’re excited about this. The facility is incredible. We have an equipment manager who spent 12 years in the NHL and he said even the visiting team facility at Gila River Arena is probably the best in the League and better than most home team’s (in other arenas). So we feel fortunate to be there and can’t wait to get going.”"

As for the other half of the partnership, LeBlanc seemed thrilled about the whole thing. He stated that the process had begun in August of 2014, and a year later, a deal was finalized. LeBlanc said,

"“We are proud to be hosting a couple of ASU’s marquee matchups and a first of its kind NCAA D-1 hockey tournament in the Southwestern United States. Gila River Arena is one of the best hockey venues in the entire NHL and we are excited to have the Sun Devils play in our home. The Sun Devils will have an enormous positive impact on the growth of hockey in Arizona. We look forward to a long and great partnership with ASU.”“ASU hockey games just makes a whole lot of sense for both entities. It’s really all about just growing the game in Arizona.”"

Here’s the schedule for ASU at Gila River Arena:

October 3, ASU v. University of Arizona, 7 p.m.

Desert Hockey Classic

January 8, UConn v. Michigan Tech, 5 p.m.

January 8, ASU v. Yale, 8 p.m.

January 10, Consolation game, 12 p.m.

January 10, Tournament Final, 3 p.m.

February 28, ASU v. U.S. National 18-U Team, 3 p.m.

This is a great day for hockey fans in the valley. ASU is taking a big step forward for their hockey program, and IceArizona is continuing to do their part to grow hockey in Arizona. Even more than that, it’s yet another sign that this ownership group is committed to Arizona.

So far, IceArizona has lived up to their end of the deal. They’ve kept their word and continue to deliver on promises. Now, it’s up to the hockey fans in Arizona to meet them half way and support their efforts.

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