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Coyotes strike arena naming deal with Gila River Casinos

Aug 13, 2014, 3:24 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Lightning v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

Big changes in the desert — the Phoenix Coyotes have already been re-branded as the Arizona Coyotes and soon, Arena will become… the Gila River Arena.

On Wednesday, Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc announced a nine-year partnership agreement with Gila River Casinos — the first “federally recognized Tribal naming rights deal with a sports venue that houses one of four major professional sports leagues in the country” — ending the building’s agreement with, which had been in place since 2006.

“On behalf of the entire Arizona Coyotes organization and IceArizona, we are thrilled to partner with Gila River Casinos and the Gila River Indian Community,” LeBlanc said in a statement. “Like the Coyotes, the Gila River Indian Community prides themselves on their commitment to business excellence and to their community.”

The Gila River deal still needs to be approved by Glendale City Council, which is set to occur on Sept. 9. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

  1. xdj511 - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    A casino? Why don’t they just move the team to Vegas already and get it over with?

  2. patthehockeyfan - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    It sure beats the heck out of arena.

    I can’t wait to listen to announcers mispronounce the new name next season (p.s. it’s NOT Gila as in Magilla Gorilla).

    • letsgolightning - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      I was thinking Gila like Gila Monster?

      • patthehockeyfan - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        Correct, letsgolightning. Thailer35 (comment below) has it correct, too.

  3. vancouversportsbro - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Pulling out the big guns now.

    People don’t realize that Phoenix has some of the most passionate fans in the league.

    Just kidding, move the stupid team already along with Florida.

    • rsmaggiemae - Aug 14, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      I agree with you totally
      I cant imagine going to a game in shorts or flip flops and where the cities are not huge like LA and the other Calif cities//
      I have a friend in Phoenix and she said the games are half filled most of the time, except when they were in the playoffs, then the fans came and they were probably people from the north part of the US who live there in the winter time

  4. thailer35 - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    To Pat’s point, I think it’ll be awesome hear announcers butcher this new name because they don’t know it’s pronounced hee luh.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 13, 2014 at 6:37 PM

      So from one of the stupidest, most easily mispronounced names (joe-bing? jaw-bing? whatever) to… a slightly better, also mispronounced name. Progress.

  5. esracerx46 - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    It’s a pet peeve of mine to mispronounce words… so for my sake, the G sounds like an H. HEE-luh

  6. skr213 - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    New slogan for the arena: “Because, let’s face it, hockey in the desert is a gamble!” (P.S. this is from a Coyotes fan)

  7. johndoe701 - Aug 13, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Let’s get some table games in the arena. Line the concourses with slot machines. A couple blackjack tables up against the glass. You could sell out the arena most game nights and probably a some nights they don’t even play…

  8. ray2013 - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    I have lived in southern az before. It’s a Spanish pronunciation for the river. You hear Gila pronounced “he-la”, and it’s not difficult. The tribe names the casino after the tribe And now named the arena after the tribe. Good for them.

  9. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 14, 2014 at 4:42 AM

    Hmmm, Will any of this move the team to a metro area that will actually support a team? Major hint – someplace where at least youths can reliably play outside at least 1 month a year?

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