The Arizona Coyotes appear to be running the risk of losing access to their arena even sooner than expected.
The city of Glendale informed the team that it plans to lock the Coyotes out of Gila River Arena if the club does not pay its delinquent tax bills and unpaid arena charges by Dec. 20.
Sources told ESPN that earlier this month, the Arizona Department of Revenue filed a tax lien notice against IceArizona Hockey LLC, which owns the Coyotes, for unpaid state and city taxes in excess of $1.3 million.
The city of Glendale is owed approximately $250,000 in unpaid taxes, per a letter from city manager Kevin Phelps to Arizona CEO and team president Xavier Gutierrez sent on Wednesday. The rest of the balance is owed directly to the state. The contents of the letter were first reported by The Athletic and confirmed by ESPN.
"We have already launched an investigation to determine how this could have happened and the initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error,'' the Coyotes said in a statement Wednesday night.
"Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure by tomorrow morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.''
A notice was sent to ASM Global, the Gila Arena Management company, and Gutierrez about the cancellation of the team's business license. Arizona has a 10-day appeal process available to demonstrate why its business license should not be revoked, but the city is giving the team an extra two days, the sources said.
The Coyotes have until 5 p.m. local time on Dec. 20 to settle their outstanding totals or the city of Glendale will deny Arizona's personnel and vendors access to the venue.
This is the latest chapter in the Coyotes' arena saga. In August, Arizona was told the city of Glendale was opting out of its lease agreement with the team at the end of this NHL season. Negotiations between the sides had been ongoing on a potential extension, but nothing was finalized and either side had the option to exit the deal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.