Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

After voters rejected the Arizona Coyotes' plan for a new arena and entertainment district in Tempe in a special election earlier in May, the franchise's future -- specifically, where they will call home -- is once again up in the air.

The Coyotes have had a tumultuous history off the ice, and this is just the latest chapter.

In December 1971, the Winnipeg Jets were founded as a member of the World Hockey Association (WHA). Eight years later, the WHA folded and the Jets became one of four teams from the league to join the NHL.

In the early 1990s, the Jets encountered financial difficulties and owner Barry Shenkarow put the team up for sale. In December 1995, Phoenix businessmen Richard Burke and Steve Gluckstern, along with help from then Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, purchased the team from Shenkarow with plans to move the franchise to Arizona.

Unfortunately for the Coyotes, they didn't leave their financial woes and instability behind them in Manitoba.

Over the last 25 years, the team has changed hands a number of times and played in a few different arenas. Here's a complete timeline of how the Coyotes wound up in an uncertain position following the 2022-23 NHL season.

Oct. 5, 1996

  • The Phoenix Coyotes played their first game in franchise history against the Hartford Whalers. A few days later, on Oct. 10, the Coyotes played their first home game against the Boston Bruins at America West Arena in Phoenix. Originally outfitted with just basketball in mind, the Coyotes had to reduce the capacity at America West Arena from 18,000 to 16,000 for NHL games due to poor sightlines.

Feb. 15, 2001

  • Burke, who had previously bought out Gluckstern's shares of the team, sold the Coyotes to local investor Steve Ellman and NHL legend Wayne Gretzky.

Dec. 27, 2003

  • Ellman was unable to finalize a deal to renovate America West Arena to make it more suitable for hockey and was forced to build a new arena in Glendale. The Coyotes played their first game in Glendale Arena, which would later become Gila River Arena, against the Nashville Predators on Dec. 27.

Aug. 8, 2005

  • Gretzky appointed himself as the Coyotes' head coach, replacing Rick Bowness.

June 21, 2006

  • The NHL officially approved the sale of the Coyotes from Ellman to Jerry Moyes, who was also a part owner of the MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks.

May 2009

  • With the Coyotes experiencing more financial woes, Moyes declared bankruptcy and put the team up for sale just three years after buying the franchise. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wanted to pitch Moyes on the idea of selling the Yotes to Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, but Moyes already had plans to sell the franchise to BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie, who wanted to move the Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario.

Sept. 2009

  • A court voided Moyes' sale to Balsillie because it violated NHL rules. The NHL wound up purchasing the Coyotes from Moyes, and the league negotiated a lease with the city of Glendale.

Sept. 24, 2009

  • Following the sale of the team to the league, Gretzky stepped down as head coach of the Coyotes with a record of 143-161-24. He was immediately replaced by Dave Tippett.


  • Multiple potential sales of the Coyotes fell through in this two-year time period, including possible deals with Reinsdorf, Chicago businessman Matt Hulsizer and California investor Darin Pastor.

Aug. 5, 2013

  • The NHL sold the Coyotes to IceArizona, which consisted of business partners located throughout North America. Earlier that summer, the city of Glendale signed a 15-year lease with Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, which was the managing partner of Ice Arizona.

Oct. 10, 2014

  • Ice Arizona agreed to sell a majority stake of the Coyotes to hedge fund manager Alex Barroway, who previously attempted to purchase the New York Islanders. The deal was officially approved by the NHL in December 2014.

June 12, 2017

  • Barroway bought out the rest of IceArizona's stake in the Coyotes, making him the sole owner.

July 29, 2019

  • Billionaire Alex Mereulo bought the Coyotes from Barroway, who remained on as a minority owner. In March 2023, Barroway was suspended by the NHL after he was charged with felony strangulation and second-degree assault in Aspen, Colo.

Aug. 19, 2021

Sept. 2, 2021

  • The Coyotes submitted a proposal to build a new arena in Tempe as they began their search for a new permanent home in Arizona. The plan included building an entertainment district and residential housing in Tempe.

Feb. 10, 2022

Oct. 28, 2022

  • Just over eight months after the team announced the move to Mullett Arena, the Coyotes played their first game in the 5,000-seat arena. The Coyotes lost to the Winnipeg Jets in overtime, 3-2. The Yotes went 21-15-5 in their first season at Mullett Arena.

March 28, 2023

  • The city of Phoenix submitted a lawsuit against the city of Tempe seeking to kill the Coyotes' new arena and entertainment district. Phoenix argued that the project would violate an agreement about how close housing can be to Sky Harbor Airport, which is owned and operated by the city.

April 6, 2023

May 16, 2023

  • Tempe voters rejected the Coyotes' arena and entertainment district proposal in a special election. The projected cost of the project was $2.1 billion with $1.9 billion in private funding, but constituents still voted against Propositions 301, 302 and 303. Unofficial results from the election showed that over 56% of people voted against the propositions. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was "terribly disappointed" by the results.