The Arizona Coyotes will finally play their home opener on Friday when they welcome the Winnipeg Jets to Mullett Arena — their home for at least the next three seasons. The Coyotes’ new domain has been criticized for months and their hospitality was put to the test on Wednesday.
A Twitter account called “PHNX Coyotes” posted images of the Coyotes’ temporary team spaces — including locker rooms and training rooms — for the first four games of the year.
While the setup is a temporary fix until new rooms are built, the video quickly went viral as fans commented on the embarrassing structures.
It seems fitting that the Jets are the first opponents to face the Coyotes at the Mullett Arena. In 1996, Winnipeg lost its team, which was moved to Phoenix, and now the Jets are returning to the less cordial visiting quarters.
Mullett Arena has a capacity of approximately 5,000 fans, the smallest arena in the NHL. Last season, the Jets were the ones with the smallest arena with a seating capacity of 15,321 at the Canada Life Center. They could thrive in this more intimate setting.
The Coyotes started the regular season with six road games before returning home. This game kicks off with a four-game homestand in which the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars will also have to use the current set-up of visiting team spaces.
The Coyotes will then be back on the road from November 5 through December 9 and will use more suitable guest locker rooms than the one they supplied. Over that same stretch, the Arizona state men’s hockey team plays just four home games at the Mullett Arena. Once the Coyotes return from their month-long journey, they will play 37 of their last 58 games in the regular season at home.
The Coyotes ended the last year of their lease at Gila Arena in Glendale with the 2021-22 season and the city ended its relationship with the team. In February 2022, the Coyotes announced a partnership with Arizona State to host home games at Mullett Arena for the 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons with an option for 2025-26 if both sides reach an agreement.
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