Arizona Coyotes ready to party at The Mullett

Oct 27, 2022, 2:16 AM | Updated: 2:21 pm
An exterior view of the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team's new temporary home, the new Mullett Arena...

An exterior view of the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team's new temporary home, the new Mullett Arena, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The Coyotes will be sharing arena with Arizona State University. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

              Members of the Arizona State University hockey team skate on the ice at the new Mullett Arena, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The university will be sharing the arena with the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              Members of the Arizona State University hockey team skate on the ice at the new Mullett Arena, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The university will be sharing the arena with the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              One of the many luxury suites at the new Arizona State University Mullett Arena, is shown Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The university will be sharing the arena with the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              Members of the Arizona State University hockey team skate on the ice at the new Mullett Arena, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The university will be sharing the arena with the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              A portal leads to the ice at the new Arizona State University Mullett Arena, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The university will be sharing the arena with the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              A hallway leads to the ice at the new Mullett Arena, the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team's new temporary home, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The Coyotes will be sharing arena with Arizona State University. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              An exterior view of the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team's new temporary home, the new Mullett Arena, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. The Coyotes will be  sharing arena with Arizona State University. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Mullett will have a party in the front and the back Friday night.

By far the NHL’s smallest venue, Mullett Arena takes its first spin in the national spotlight when the Arizona Coyotes host the Winnipeg Jets.

It should be a rockin’ — howlin’? — good time.

“It’s a new chapter of hockey in Arizona and in Tempe,” Coyotes forward Clayton Keller said. “I think everyone is excited and there will be a lot more eyes and a lot of people talking more about hockey.”

The Coyotes were put in a bind when, in the latest drama with the city of Glendale, they were told their annual lease for Gila River Arena would not be renewed for the 2022-23 season.

The franchise is negotiating with the city of Tempe to build a new arena and entertainment district, with a vote by the City Council expected on Nov. 29.

Until then, it’s Mullett time.

To fill the gap until it gets a permanent home, Arizona worked out a deal to play the next three seasons at Mullett Arena, the sparkling new home of Arizona State hockey.

The 5,000-seat venue near Sun Devil Stadium is state-of-the-art and a perfect fit for college hockey. For NHL games, it’s going to be like watching the Rolling Stones at an upscale city theater.

“It’s intimate and you will have an unprecedented experience,” Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said. “And it’s going to be loud.”

Improvising while waiting for a new arena is not unprecedented.

The Tampa Bay Lightning played their first season in a venue that proved to be too small for an NHL team, so they moved in 1993 to the Florida Suncoast Dome, built for the expected arrival of a Major League Baseball team. The Lightning renamed it Thunderdome and played three seasons there until the Amalie Arena was finished.

While the Ottawa Senators were waiting for their new arena to be completed, they played at the Ottawa Civic Center, which originally had roughly 15 rows of seats on one side before it was renovated.

The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers also had a unique venue after moving north from San Diego, playing three seasons at the 30,000-seat home of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.

Now the Coyotes are doing it, becoming the first NHL team to share an arena with an NCAA team since 1928.

“It’s good because they’ll be able to see how fast the game truly is,” Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse said. “To have all these seats in the lower bowl, they’ll pick up on how quick we have to make decisions.”

It took a lot of extra work to make Mullett Arena NHL ready.

Plans and permits had already been approved when the deal with the Coyotes was reached, so numerous adjustments had to be made.

New technology was added for the NHL’s replays, stats and video on the benches. Areas inside the arena were cleared out to accommodate more cameras for NHL games and the press box was adjusted for the various media members and NHL officials.

NHL-quality locker rooms also had to be added, so an annex was built adjacent to the arena. The annex won’t be ready until the Coyotes return from a 14-game road trip in December, so the public-use sheet of ice connected to the arena will be covered with flooring and set up as a visiting locker room.

“There was a lot of chirping, but this is basically an NHL arena, just smaller,” said Peter Luukko, executive chairman of Oak View Group, which manages Mullett Arena. “It’s not a long-term solution, but it’s perfect short term.”

The Coyotes hope they’re close to that permanent solution.

Until then, they’ll be in The Mullett.

Party on — front and back.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Brazilian Pele attends the 2018 soccer World Cup draw at the Kremlin in Moscow, Dec. 1, 2017...
Associated Press

Hospitalized Pelé thanks fans during fight against cancer

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian soccer great Pelé thanked fans worldwide on Thursday for the well-wishes he’s received since being admitted to a Sao Paulo hospital amid his fight against cancer. The 82-year-old Pelé, who had a colon tumor removed in September 2021, was hospitalized Tuesday to regulate his medication, his daughter said. Messages of […]
17 hours ago
Germany's Leroy Sane reacts at the end of the World Cup group E soccer match between Costa Rica and...
Associated Press

Germany’s soul-searching begins after another World Cup flop

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Another World Cup, another flop. Former soccer power Germany is facing another round of soul-searching after going out of the sport’s most important tournament at the first stage for the second time in a row. Germany’s players spoke afterward of good performances and missed chances — as they’ve done before. […]
17 hours ago
Japan's head coach Hajime Moriyasu whistles during the World Cup group E soccer match between Japan...
Associated Press

World Cup redemption for Japan coach 29 years later in Qatar

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — The “Agony of Doha” came 29 years ago, and Hajime Moriyasu experienced it first-hand as a midfielder on Japan’s national soccer team. He’s now the coach, and he’s made amends. Japan won its World Cup group on Thursday after beating 2010 champion Spain 2-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium. Last […]
17 hours ago
Sepp Straka, of Austria, tosses a ball to his caddie during the first round of the Hero World Chall...
Associated Press

Tiger replacement Sepp Straka shares lead in the Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Sepp Straka was home in Alabama preparing for a big week of golf matches at his club, a friend’s wedding and the SEC Championship game. And then Tiger Woods couldn’t play in the Bahamas because of a foot injury, and Straka had a change in plans. It worked out OK for […]
17 hours ago
FILE - NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano speaks during the NASCAR Championship media day, Thursd...
Associated Press

Logano celebates 2nd NASCAR Cup title already wanting 3rd

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Joey Logano has a simple target for the future even as he celebrates his 2022 NASCAR Cup championship. Add yet another. Logano this season joined Kyle Busch as the only active NASCAR drivers with multiple Cup series titles, adding to the first Cup championship he won in 2018. Being the only […]
17 hours ago
Japan's Ritsu Doan celebrates scoring his side's first goal during a World Cup group E soccer match...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: World Cup highlights from Day 12

Highlights from the 12th day of the World Cup in Qatar on Thursday. ___ AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2 days ago
Arizona Coyotes ready to party at The Mullett